Launched in 2011, OSHA has a campaign reminding us about the very real dangers of heat. It can affect outdoor as well as indoor environments. From bakeries, construction sites, foundries, firefighting and more. Every year thousands become sick from heat stress, some cases are even fatal.
This is preventable with some planning, supervision and observation for possible symptoms. Once symptoms are present, applying heat-related first aid is critical. When in doubt, cool the employee and call 911 immediately.
Identifying risk factors is the first step to planning. Some of the usual ones include:
- Outdoor work in warm weather
- Heat sources such as ovens, fires, or hot tar
- Strenuous physical activity
- Heavy or non-breathable work clothes
Supervision comes into play by ensuring employees drink adequate amounts of water or sports drinks and have frequent breaks in cooler, well ventilated areas that are sheltered from the heat. These steps generally address most of the risk areas. Cooling devices are also very common to see on jobsites. Ergodyne provides a handy guide on using their products to address heat-stress.