Thu, 06/22/2017

PREVENTING HEAT STRESS:
TIPS FOR EMPLOYERS

  • Work practices: when possible, schedule work for the cool part of the day or at night; use intermittent rest periods with water breaks.
  • Water: encourage employees to drink water frequently, aiming for 4 cups every hour.
  • Engineering controls: provide appropriate uniforms, ventilation, air conditioning, portable blowers with mist, etc.; adjust dress policies as needed.
  • Acclimation: gradually increase exposure to heat, beginning with 50% of the normal workload on the first day and gradually building up to 100% on the fifth day.
  • Environmental monitoring: check the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) or heat index (apparent temperature).
  • Training: ensure that workers understand the importance of fluid intake, acclimatizing, use of protective equipment such as ice vests or reflective clothing, and signs of dehydration, heat stroke, and other heat-related illnesses and injuries.
  • Medical screening: identify risk factors that might predispose a worker to the risk of heat stroke.

With summer comes an increased risk of heat-related illnesses and injuries, particularly for individuals who work outdoors for all or part of the workday. Dehydration, heat rash, sunburn, heat cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are among the dangers faced by these workers. There are many steps that employers and employees can take to minimize the risk of heat stress, and workers should be trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness and to seek medical aid when necessary.

See the full "Keep Your Cool" presentation