OSHA Campaigns for Heat Safety

Posted on 20 June 2017 by CRadmin3

111June is National Safety Month, which is organized through a partnership of the National Safety Council (NSC) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). As part of its commitment to workplace safety and in conjunction with National Safety Month, OSHA is campaigning “to keep workers safe in the heat.”

The Heat Illness Prevention Campaign was first implemented in 2011 to educate employers and employees about the hazards associated with working in hot environments. Each year, dozens of workers die and more than 65,000 others require medical treatment for heat-related illnesses. Moreover, 40 percent of these deaths are in the construction industry.

Excess heat is a known safety hazard, and all employers have a responsibility to keep their workers safe from or in environments with high heat and/or humidity. Employers who know that employees will be working in high temperatures should establish a full program to prevent heat illnesses, which would include all of the following:

  • Water, shade and regular breaks are made available.
  • New workers and those returning from time off should be given gradually increasing duties and take breaks more frequently to become acclimated to the temperatures.
  • Train workers to prevent heat-related emergencies.
  • Plan ahead for emergency situations.
  • Monitor employees for signs of heat exhaustion.

Use the Updated Heat-Safety App

OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have teamed up to develop an updated heat-safety app for Apple iPhones and Android Smartphones. The app provides users with a simple interface that provides the information needed to keep workers safe in hot conditions.

It is a good idea to encourage employees to use the app when they know they are working in hot and humid weather to help them understand what protective measures are necessary to stay safe. The app also provides hourly forecasts of the heat index so that adjustments can be made to the recommended protections.

Heat-Safety Tips from Employers

Granite Construction Company has 113 locations across the U.S. and is one of the 25 largest construction firms in the country. This company uses several methods to keep workers safe in high temperatures, including all of the following:

  • Each supervisor is issued a portable canopy.
  • Workers are provided with evaporative cooling towels and shades that attach to their hard hats.
  • The OSHA-NIOSH heat app is monitored and recommendations are followed.
  • Training sessions on heat exposure are conducted.
  • Workers always maintain proper hydration.

Other companies, such as land of Lincoln Goodwill industries and Ballard Marine Construction, provide frequent breaks in the heat, offer earlier shifts during the summer, provide sports drinks on hot days and put up canopies with integrated water misters.

For further information on heat safety, visit the OSHA Web page on Occupational Heat Exposure or read the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidebook Climate Change and Extreme Heat: What You Can Do to Prepare.

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