Temperatures are spiking and the heat index feels like it’s over 100 degrees outside! A number of companies employ individuals who may be dramatically affected by these hot conditions. From construction workers and landscaping/yard maintenance employees to delivery personnel and HVAC employees, it’s time to make sure policies and practices have been implemented to prevent heat-related illnesses.
Individuals who work in direct sunlight, perform prolonged or strenuous work and/or wear heavy protective clothing are most vulnerable to heat related illnesses such as sunburn, heat rash, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or heat cramps.
Employers can prevent employees from succumbing to these illnesses by implementing the following practices:
- Require employees to drink water every 15 minutes…even if they aren’t thirsty
- Provide more frequent breaks to employees
- Provide shaded areas, if possible, in which employees can take breaks
- Require employees to wear hats and light-colored clothing
- Teach employees and supervisors how to recognize the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
- Give temporary or newly hired employees an opportunity to acclimate themselves to the hot environment
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has a web page dedicated to the prevention of heat-related illnesses and they have published a comprehensive chart to help individuals recognizing the symptoms of heat-related illnesses along with recommended first aid.
Now is the time to educate employees and supervisors on how to prevent heat-related illnesses!
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