Keeping Workers Safe in the Hot Weather
As Summer temperatures are rising, OSHA is reminding everyone about worker safety in extreme heat. It is every employer’s responsibility to provide their employees with a place of employment that “is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees” as stated in the General Duty Clause 5 (a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Therefore, prevention, planning and supervision are highly recommended to help workers as they face extreme heat. Not only are workers exposed to extreme heat when working outdoors, other exposures to extreme heat are with heat sources such as ovens, fires, or hot tar to strenuous physical activity and heavy or non-breathable work clothes.
Employers should plan by creating a heat illness prevention plan and utilizing day to day supervision of individuals on the work site to monitor worker conditions throughout the day. This individual should receive proper training which includes:
Identifying and controlling heat hazards
Recognizing early symptoms of heat stress
Administering first aid for heat-related illnesses; and
Activating emergency medical services quickly when needed
We also gathered 5 more helpful precautions OSHA recommends for worker safety when temperatures are high and when the job involves physical work as follows:
Provide a lot of cool water to workers close to the work area. At least 1 pint of water per hour is needed (Water)
Modify work schedules and arrange frequent rest periods with water breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas (Rest and Shade)
Gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks for workers new to the heat or those that have been away from work to adapt to working in the heat (also known as acclimatization) (Rest)
Designate a responsible person to monitor conditions and protect workers who are at risk of heat stress
Consider protective clothing that provides cooling, or advise wearing lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothes
*OSHA’s main safety message comes down to three key words: Water. Rest. Shade. Providing these 3 main essentials to workers while working in warm weather helps with preventing heat-related illnesses.
Whether you are in the agriculture industry to landscaping or roofing and construction, worker safety is a priority for everyone. Preventing heat-related illness is possible and with proper training and precautions everyone can be safe when working in extreme heat. Contact Paroubek Insurance today to help you with any of your business-related insurance inquires.
Read more on Protecting Workers from Heat Stress with OSHA’s Quick Card: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3154.pdf’
Also, to learn more about keeping workers safe in the heat and steps employers can take to training and preventing heat exposure go to: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatstress/index.html