The heat is on.
Each year, and especially each summer, thousands of workers are exposed to excessive heat. This can be caused not only by the weather, but also due to workload, machinery output, and personal protective equipment.
With more workers wearing masks in the high heat, it’s important for management to take extra precautions for heat safety.
Heat Safety – Reducing Hazards
Heat exposure can lead to lack of focus, health illness, and even death. Follow the protective measures below to reduce employee exposure to heat hazards:
- Rest. Water. Shade: Employers need to provide ample water for workers as well as scheduled breaks to rest, and a shaded area to cool down and recover.
- Education: Take time to educate workers on how the body responds to heat and hot conditions. Symptoms can include headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness.
- Create a safety plan: Heat safety should be included as part of an injury and illness prevention program. Establish a written plan based on current safety rules, policies, and practices. Train supervisors on safety planning related to heat safety.
- Utilize engineering controls: Additional measures may need to be taken in environments that are difficult to cool. Such as placing a portable evaporative cooler in areas where heat is generated. These devices can create cool air by combining the ambient air with water, as opposed to a fan that blows stagnant air.
- Let workers acclimate: This is an important and necessary process. Effective heat acclimation will gradually increase worker exposure to heat over a one to two week period. This ensures that workers can build up tolerance to the heat, ensuring safety and increasing productivity by reducing mistakes made as a result of heat fatigue.
- Schedule Accordingly: Adapt worker activity to account for high heat conditions. Can work be done earlier or later in the day when the sun isn’t as strong?
Use the Heat Safety Tool
Download the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool app for a real-time heat index, hourly forecasts, and additional safety and health recommendations from both agencies to help better plan for outdoor activities.
The app categorizes current risk conditions from minimal to extreme with heat values forecasted hourly.
John Howard, M.D., director of NIOSH, stated that, “in many cases, workers rely on their employers to provide opportunities for taking rest breaks and drinking water. This app puts life-saving information at the fingertips of both supervisors and workers to inform them when they need to take precautions to stay safe at the worksite.”
Learn more about heat stress and safety, and post info around the workplace, with these NIOSH fast facts.
About Worksite Medical
In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.
Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.
We conduct on-site respirator fit tests (including N95 masks), as well as pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.
With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.
Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.
Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!