With June almost upon us, it's a good time to review safety precautions for workers that are exposed to the summer heat. Excessive heat can pose serious health risks but employers can take some simple preventative measures to keep their employees safe.
Before the summer sun sets in, hold a safety meeting and ensure that your employees and supervisors understand how to prevent and recognize the signs of heat related illness. Take the following steps in the workplace:
For new workers, the work schedule should be no more than 20% of the usual duration of work in the heat on day 1 and no more than a 20% increase on each additional day. Supervisors should closely monitor new employees for the first 14 days or until they are fully acclimated. Non physically fit workers may require more time.
Employees should drink one 8 oz cup of water every 15 minutes and, during prolonged heat lasting several hours, sports drinks containing balanced electrolytes should be consumed. Avoid alcohol and drinks with high caffeine or sugar.
Employers should ensure workers take appropriate rest breaks to cool down and hydrate. Workers should be allowed to take rest and water breaks when he/she feels any discomfort. As the temperature, sun and humidity increases, shorten the work periods and increase rest periods, especially when there is no air movement.
For more information visit the OSHA Website: Heat Related Safety