Heat is a serious hazard to workers in many industries. Not only when workers are outdoors but also during indoor activity the body can build up heat and struggle to get rid of it.
According to the CDC, Extreme Heat causes more deaths every year than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods combined!
Workers need to be aware of their specific limitations and remember that sometimes their body may not cool off fast enough. Factors that can increase the chance of heat stress include:
- High temperature and humidity
- Not drinking enough water
- Direct exposure (with no shade) or extreme heat
- No breeze or wind
- Physical activity without breaks
- Use of bulky protective clothing and equipment
Water. Rest. Shade. California's State OSHA program has created a great way to remember three important ways to prevent heat stress.
- Water - workers need to start drinking water before arriving at the job site. This is a great way to get the body hydrated and ready for hard work.
- Keep drinking water! Start the day out hydrated and then continue to fuel your body with water.
- If the temperature is high and the humidity is high, then OSHA recommends about four cups of water per hour.
- Rest - during periods of high heat and high humidity, short breaks in the shade are a great way to let the body release some of that extra heat.
- Wear loose, light clothing, and avoid direct sunlight when possible.
Most companies should be having at least one safety meeting a year, before the hottest part of the year in your part of the country, on heat stress. If employees are working indoors but could be susceptible to heat stress in the indoor environment, then a safety meeting on preventing heat stress can be held any time of the year. Weeklysafety.com has safety meeting topics on recognizing and preventing heat stress that you can have access to today with our risk-free subscription. Get 10 free (no obligation!) safety meeting topics today!