Blooming trees and flowers here in the South are the prelude to a long, hot, humid summer. Workers exposed to hot indoor environments, or hot and humid conditions outdoors, are at risk of heat-related illness.
Do you or your employees work in or around any of these conditions?
- High temperatures and humidity
- Radiant heat sources or hot objects
- Direct sun exposure
- Limited air movement
- Bulky or non-breathable protective gear
- Strenuous physical activity
If you answered yes to any of these, then it’s important to have a heat prevention plan in place! Now is the time to begin preparing your workplace to keep the summer season safe and healthy. Here are some considerations for your plan:
Train. Educate your workforce on safe work practices in the heat and on symptoms of heat exposure.
Tools. There’s an app for that! OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool is available in English or Spanish, and can be downloaded to an iPhone or Android device. The app gives users alerts based on the heat index, and reminds them to drink fluids, schedule rest breaks, and recognize signs of illness caused by heat.
Acclimate. Employees need to get used to the heat, taking it easy during the first few days and building a tolerance to the conditions.
Water. Drink small amounts of water every 15 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty.
Rest. Rest in the shade. Whenever possible, use work/rest cycles. Rest periods don’t have to mean lost work! Visit OSHA’s website for advice on how to structure cycles that keep workers safe and the work day productive.
Clothing. Wear wide-brimmed hats and light-colored clothing.
Emergency Plan. Develop a plan to seek immediate help if an employee has symptoms of heat exposure. Workers should know how to prevent a heat-related illness, but also what to do and how to react in case of emergency. A quick response could save a life.
For guidelines and training resources, and a variety of fact sheets, posters, and training materials in English and Spanish, visit OSHA.gov.
Follow @OSHAEdCenter on Twitter for safety tips throughout the summer!