Workplace Heat Safety During the Hot Months

Risks of heat illness from high temperatures are a serious challenge to the safety and health of workers. It calls for careful planning on part of the employer. OSHA urges all employers across the nation to protect their outdoor workers from heat-related risks prevalent during the hot months.

Why is it important to prevent heat illness?

Heat illness is a serious concern and can be a matter of life and death. Heat strokes are preventable, but it takes diligence from both the employer and employee to prevent the occurrence. Just like a car’s engine can overheat and shutdown so can a human being.

So what causes our bodies to overheat? Hot or humid weather, sun exposure because humans absorb more heat when they are in the sun and physical activity especially when its hot outside and even inside. Indoor heat can be just as dangerous as outdoor heat.

Signs of developing heat exhaustion include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Weakness
  • Wet skin
  • Irritability
  • Thirst
  • Nausea or vomiting

Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Confusion
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Passing out
  • Collapsing
  • Seizures or (fits)
  • Stop sweating

So what can be done to keep workers safe?

Employers should first train workers on heat illness and then diligently observe workers for signs and symptoms of heat illness. Water is important! Employers should remind workers to drink water and make it available and easy to access. Shade and rest breaks are also key when the temperatures begin to rise. Don’t forget about having effective communication systems in place should an emergency occur. Visit the US DOL for more information on heat illness and protecting workers from heat-related working conditions.

For compliance posters that are great reinforcement to training click here.

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