High temperatures on the job can make people miserable. And whether it’s from hot weather outdoors or high-heat applications indoors, discomfort can quickly escalate from an annoyance to a life-threatening situation. In fact, every day in the United States, 11 workers are seriously injured or die from heat stress, resulting in incidents that cost an average of $53,000. Here are a few tips to make your workers aware of the causes of heat-related illnesses and some solutions to help everyone keep their cool.
Know the Causes of Heat Illness
Overheating can be caused by several factors - alone or in combination.
How to Prevent Heat Illness
Educate Your Workers
Make sure your workers understand the ins-and-outs of heat illness by using posters or safety trainings that include risk factors, the differences between various types of heat illness, which symptoms are more serious than others, the importance of hydration and body cooling, and what to do in an emergency.
Gauge the Day's Weather
Your favorite meteorologist can’t always predict the heat and humidity on your jobsite. The best way to determine the temperature your people are working in is to use a wet bulb globe temperature monitor to gauge the site’s microclimates – the real temperature based on heat, humidity, airflow, and other factors.
Switch Up the Work-to-Rest Ratio
Once you know the correct temperature, you can adjust the amount of breaks your workers take and how long they should rest and rehydrate. Hotter temperatures require more frequent breaks and better hydration!
Acclimate Workers to the Heat
According to OSHA, almost half of heat-related deaths occur on a worker’s first day on the job, and over 70 percent occur within the first week. Prepare your workers for warmer temperatures through acclimatization -- the process of letting the body adapt to heat stress. Workers who are well acclimated to hot environments develop physiological defenses such as a lower heart rate and an increased sweat rate while working in the heat.
Emphasize Proper Hydration
Remind your workers that one sip of water isn’t going to cut it! Encourage them to drink water the night before, during their shift, and after work to stay hydrated throughout the day. Most importantly, make sure the water they drink during breaks is kept cold and that it’s near enough to their work area to give them constant access.
Provide Quality Body-Cooling PPE
Keep your workers cooler on the job with products developed specifically to beat the heat. Magid® Cool Powered by Mission® emphasizes body cooling that’s instant, portable, and lasts for hours through a combination of water and air cooling. Other product designs like the T-Rex® Windstorm Series® provide mesh constructions and different types of venting to allow better airflow and moisture-wicking materials to encourage moisture evaporation. Above all, be sure you’re supplying the coolest, most comfortable protection possible while keeping your workers safe.
This article was originally published on the Magid Glove & Safety Manufacturing Company LLC website.
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