OSHA Requires Worker Protection From Heat
The Summer Solstice is officially upon us! That means staying hydrated is more crucial than ever. Though we all love the warmer months, the increase in temperatures can cause serious illness on the job.
National Safety Compliance, Inc. just issued a Heat Stress Warning and Instructions on how you can prepare your employees for the summer to avoid on-the-job complications.
OSHA requires worker protection from the heat while on the job. Heat illness is real and happens more times than you think.
Every year, thousands of workers become ill from too much exposure tot he heat. Employers are responsible for providing workplaces that are safe from excessive heat. The good news is that heat illness can be prevented!
What is Heat Illness?
“The body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating isn’t enough. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels if precautions are not taken such as drinking water frequently and resting in the shade or air conditioning. Heat illness range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention and can result in death.”
How Can Heat Illness Be Prevented?
“Employers should establish a complete heat illness prevention program to prevent heat illness. This includes: provide workers with water, rest in shade; gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks for new workers or workers who have been away for a week or more to build a tolerance for working in the heat; modify work schedules as necessary; plan for emergencies and train workers about the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and their prevention; and monitor workers for signs of illness.”
To Prevent Heat Related Illness & Fatalities:
- Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
- Rest in the shade to cool down.
- Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
- Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
- Keep an eye on fellow workers.
- “Easy does it” on your first days of work in the heat. You need to get used to it.
Remember these three simple words: Water, Rest, Shade.
Taking these precautions can mean the difference between life & death. Working in full sunlight can increase heat index vales by 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep this in mind and plan additional precautions for working in these conditions.
Industries most affected by heat-related illness are: construction; trade, transportation and utilities; agriculture; building, grounds maintenance; landscaping services; and support activities for oil and gas operations.