For those who work outdoors, the next several months can be a difficult time of year as the weather heats up around the U.S. OSHA’s annual “Water. Rest. Shade.” campaign offers suggestions and resources to help employers and workers keep it cool on their jobsites.
At OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention webpage, the administration explains that:
“Every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in extreme heat or humid conditions. More than 40 percent of heat-related worker deaths occur in the construction industry, but workers in every field are susceptible. There are a range of heat illnesses and they can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical condition.”
Employers have a responsibility to provide safe working conditions, and OSHA recommends a number of preventative measures and best practices to help avoid heat-related illness and injury:
- Implement environmental controls such as increasing general ventilation, redirecting radiant heat with reflective shields and eliminating steam leaks.
- Employers should take steps that help workers become acclimatized (gradually build up exposure to heat), especially workers who are new to working in the heat or have been away from work for a week or more.
- Rather than being exposed to heat for extended periods of time, workers should, wherever possible, be permitted to distribute the workload evenly over the day and incorporate work/rest cycles.
- Workers should watch out for each other for symptoms of heat-related illness and administer appropriate first aid to anyone who is developing a heat-related illness.
- Provide safety training about the hazards of hot-weather work. Training topics should include different types of heat-related illnesses and their prevention, and procedures for responding to possible heat-related illnesses including ensuring that clear and precise directions to the work site will be provided to emergency medical services.
Summit Training Sources offers a thorough review of these important topics in our heat stress course:
Heat Stress: Preventative Measures
This course teaches those working in or around hot environments techniques to beat the heat and avoid the potential dangers of heat-related illness. Topics include:
- What is heat stress?
- Preparing for heat
- Heat stress disorders and their health effects
- Safe work practices
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