Though we’re coming off a pretty mild winter in the Mid-Atlantic Region, there is much excitement and anticipation about the warmer months ahead. For some workers, however, rising temperatures can be challenging. And depending on the type of work you do, and the equipment that you wear, heat can be the catalyst for a serious injury.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has shared outstanding information over the years about exposure to heat. The most serious heat illness is heat stroke. Other heat illnesses, such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash, should also be avoided. There are precautions your employer should take any time temperatures are high and the job involves physical work.
Here are 5 Ways to Prepare Your Workers for Summer…
To Prevent Heat Illness, Employers Should:
- Provide training about the hazards leading to heat stress and how to prevent them. Workers need to understand the risks associated with higher temps. They also need to know what to do if they, or a co-worker, experience symptoms.
- Help workers stay hydrated. For some workers, this means at least one pint of hydration per hour. For others, not as much, but they should hydrate even if they don’t feel thirsty.
- Take breaks and get out of the sun. The sun and heat will take a toll on workers over the course of the day. It’s important to take breaks and find a shady spot… or go inside – preferably in an air conditioned room – to help the body recover from sun and heat exposure.
- Keep an eye on your workers/co-workers. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the task at hand and forget to hydrate, take breaks and get out of the sun. Empower your workers to look out for one another so they don’t overdo it and they take the time to get what they need.
- Apply sunscreen early and often. With increasing levels of melanoma cases and data that supports the dangers of sun exposure, protect your workers with sunscreen. Also, workers who are more susceptible to sunburn may not realize they are exposing their skin to sunburn until it is too late. Have your workers keep an eye out for reddening of skin or other symptoms of sunburn.
As the weather heats up, please know and understand the factors which could hurt your workers, delay production and negatively impact your business.
Risk Factors for Heat Illness
- High temperature and humidity, direct sun exposure, no breeze or wind
- Low liquid intake
- Heavy physical labor
- Waterproof clothing
- No recent exposure to hot workplaces
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
- Headache, dizziness, or fainting
- Weakness and wet skin
- Irritability or confusion
- Thirst, nausea, or vomiting
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
- May be confused, unable to think clearly, pass out, collapse, or have seizures (fits)
- May stop sweating
At Arbill, we care about you and your workers throughout the year. And as the temperatures rise, now is the time to start training employees on the safety hazards of heat stress and implementing preventative measures for your workers who are exposed to extreme heat conditions. Through heat stress knowledge and tactics, you ensure the health and safety of your workers over the upcoming summer months.
For information on products to help reduce heat-related incidents, click here.
For more information about making your workplace safer, contact the safety specialists at 800.523.5367 or visit www.arbill.com.
Stay cool... and have a safe day!