DID YOU KNOW?
*Using the 3% profit margin default.
Importance of Acclimatization and the Workforce
Train workers and supervisors on how to recognize symptoms of heat stress and the steps for the proper administration of first aid based on symptoms exhibited.
While some hot workplaces encourage their employees to drink an electrolyte beverage like Sword prior to starting their workday, the CDC also has guidelines to safely and properly acclimate to repeated exposure to a hot environment which are beneficial to physiological adaptations including:
The CDC further suggests that to acclimatize workers, gradually increase their exposure time in hot environmental conditions over a 7-14 day period. New workers will need more time to acclimatize than workers who have already had some exposure.
If a worker is out of the office for more than a few days, they may need to gradually reacclimate to the environment to avoid heat-related illness. However regaining acclimatization may be achieved in as little as 2-3 days once returning to the hot job.
Heat Related Illnesses Ranked by Level of Seriousness:
*A potentially fatal medical condition where damaged muscle tissue releases its proteins and electrolytes into the blood.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019, there were 43 work-related deaths due to environmental heat exposure. While this number was lower than the 2011 high of 61 deaths, the below chart shows that it was still higher over several years.
According to bls.gov, fifty-seven deaths (16.6 percent) occurred to workers ages 55 to 64 from 2011 to 2019. During that period, 144 workers (41.9 percent) died from environmental heat exposure while they were engaged in construction, repair, or cleaning, and 54 workers (15.7 percent) died while conducting materials handling operations.
Tips for Preventing Heat Related Illnesses
The CDC offers these tips for preventing heat-related illness:
Wearing lightweight clothing, applying sunscreen, scheduling your activities around the coolest time of day and limiting your exposure to outside temperatures are all ways you can stay cool.
Drinking plenty of fluids – especially those with electrolytes* – will help to replenish critical salt and minerals and keep you hydrated.
Start teaching your employees the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness and consider using a buddy system for those working in hot temperatures. Properly treating a person experiencing the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses can save their life.
*Electrolyte drinks contain salt and may not be appropriate for everyone. Before drinking hydration beverage, speak with your physician.
Sword Performance offers consumption recommendations based on your environment:
Humidity's Impact on Heat Stress
The CDC recommends using both the heat index and wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) to accurately assess temperature and humidity. Regulations have been established to monitor WBGT and ensure safe working conditions.
WBGT is used by Industrial Hygienists to measure heat stress in direct sunlight and takes several factors into account including temperature, humidity, wind speed, the angle of the sun and could cover.
Wet bulb temperature is an important factor in heat stress when the humidity level is 95% or above combined with heat temperatures 88 degrees or higher. So, how does this effect your employees?
Arbill's EH&S Managed Services can provide heat stress training and Industrial Hygienist services to measure the wet bulb temperature in your workplace and provide suggestions on how to create a safe working environment and reduce heat-stress related injuries.
Have a Safe Day!