Heat Stress Safety-Working Indoors and Outdoors
Updated: Aug 18, 2021
If you work outside whether its construction or labor-intensive work, you know the struggles of keeping cool during those high heat days. Heat related injuries are one of the most common injuries during the summer season. According to OSHA, during the summer of 2019 there was one reported fatality opposed to the previous year of zero fatalities in the summer of 2018. All heat related illnesses and injuries are preventable with rest, shade for you and your workers, and the most important water. Heat stress can cause heat stroke, heat cramps, rashes, and heat exhaustion. Working in excessively hot heat can also increase your chances of injuries by fogged safety glasses, sweaty palms, and dizziness. Burns can also be a safety factor as you may come into contact with steam or hot surfaces.
Now more than ever it is important to be safe during the summer season due to new COVID standards regarding face coverings at work, here are a few tips to help keep you safe.
• Gradually increase your time spent working in a hot environment over a 7-14 day period.
• For new workers being exposed to extreme heat, schedule that time spent should not exceed more than 20% exposure on day one, and gradually increase by 20% each additional day.
• For workers with previous experience in extreme heat start with 50% exposure on day one, day two 60% exposure, day three 80% exposure and by day four 100% exposure.
• Set up a buddy system to constantly check the health of your workers ensuring that water and shade are readily available.
• Enforce frequent rest breaks in air conditioned or shaded areas.
• Emphasize the importance of appropriate clothing such as light colored, loose fitting, and breathable clothes. (Cotton is great due to being able to cool when soaked with water)
• Encourage workers to drink plenty of fluids, workers should drink about 1 cup of water every 15-20 minutes.
According to OSHA these are the common occupations that have higher chances of heat related illnesses, injuries, or fatalities.
For more information on how to prevent heat related injuries, please click here to reach out directly for quality training courses tailored to meet the needs of your business.