We all know that summer heat and humidity can make work conditions uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous. Recently, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a document to employers on ways to work safely in the summer heat.
Being headquartered in Oklahoma, with projects across New Mexico, Texas,
Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri, Ross Group understands how important it is to remain vigilant when it comes to high temperatures. These hazardous working conditions can affect teams in both outdoor and indoor settings, putting them at risk from heat exposure.
The new OSHA document outlined eight ways to mitigate heat related hazards:
Water, rest, and shade are of the utmost importance. Employees in high temperature conditions should be reminded to drink water every 15 minutes and to take frequent breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas.
New workers are at greater risk to heat related hazards. All new employees should be closely monitored and offered extra protections from the heat until they are fully acclimated to the work environment.
Physical exertion increases body heat, and with that, the risk of heat related illness. It’s important to evaluate the combination of body heat and environmental temperature to determine if a situation could become hazardous.
Protective measures should be put in place any time the heat index exceeds 80 degrees. Heat related illness can occur even when temperatures don’t seem extreme.
Heat can be a hazard even for indoor work, particularly in areas such as warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and electrical or mechanical rooms. This risk should be treated with the same care as outdoor exposure.
There are simple measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of heat hazards. These include things like using cooling fans, increasing ventilation, using misting devices, and providing cooling neck wraps.
Planning is key. Ensuring appropriate planning and supervision for high heat projects is essential.
Workers need additional training on the hazards of heat exposure and how to prevent and respond to heat related illness. When everyone is informed, there is greater protection against incidents.
It is an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace for all employees. The first step towards meeting this need is being aware of risks and putting measures in place to prevent incidents. While summer heat may not be an issue in all locations or on all job sites, it is important to always be prepared for potential hazards.