With Memorial Day signaling the unofficial start of the summer, there’s no better time to prepare for the heat and hot working conditions that employees may face.
Health Risks Rise Along With the Mercury
As temperatures start to exceed 90 and even 100 again in the desert Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions, those who must work outdoors (or indoors where processes or inadequate air-conditioning create a hot environment) see a different side of summer than most. Because heat can cause a range of ailments from discomfort to death, it’s essential that all employees understand the risks and how to protect against them.
- Consider a worker’s physical fitness to work in a hot environment.
- Have employees work in pairs to reduce stress and to keep an eye on each other’s physical condition.
- Provide easy access to a supply of safe drinking water and encourage workers to drink plenty of water.
- Avoid scheduling the heaviest work on the hottest days or at the hottest time of the day.
- Alternate work and rest periods in very hot weather, making sure workers have a cool, shady place to take their breaks.
- Monitor temperatures and worker responses on a regular basis.
- Train workers to recognize and treat the signs of heat-related illness.
Why It Matters
The combination of heat, humidity, and human labor can be deadly. Every year thousands of workers end up in the emergency room suffering from heat-related illness—and some of them end up dying. Training workers to understand heat hazards and how to take the proper precautions to prevent heat-related illness will not only protect their health, it will keep them on the job where you need them, even on the hottest days.
Members can access additional information about the signs and treatment of heat-related illness on MSEC’s website through our partner, Safety.BLR.com.