Heat Hazards Firing Up Among Safety Concerns
Wondering how to beat the heat and heat-related illness and still manage worker productivity safely? As the hottest time of year continues to drudge on, workers face additional safety hazards due to greater potentials of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat rash, dehydration, and other heat related illnesses. Are you taking the proper precautions to ensure workers are safe in this hostile heat?
What You Need to Know:
Heat exhaustion – a heat-related illness which occurs after exposure to high temperatures, it is often accompanied by dehydration.
- Dark-colored urine
- Muscle or abdominal cramps
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Pale skin
- Profuse sweating
- Rapid heartbeat
Heat stroke– is an emergency condition where the body’s core temperature is markedly elevated after exposure to high environmental temperatures. This is combined with neurologic symptoms and loss of body thermal autoregulation (ability of the brain to control the body temperature).
Heat rash– happens when a blockage of the sweat glands causes perspiration to be caught in the deeper layers of the skin. Inflammation, redness, and blister-like lesions can result.
dehydration -happens when your body doesn’t have as much water as it needs. Without enough, your body can’t function properly. You can have mild, moderate, or severe dehydration depending on how much fluid is missing from your body.
Safety tips for avoiding heat-related illness:
Work environments should factor engineering controls to manage heat-related hazards.
Air velocity can be increased to manage overheating.
Utilize materials that are heat reflective or heat-absorbing.
Reduce factors that lead to heat output such as steam, and humidity from damp areas.
Evaluate workers’ time spent in heat vs. cool environments. Limit time in heat and/or increase time spent in cool environments.
Reduce manual labor and utilize tools that allow workers to conserve energy.
Increase hydration and access to drinking water.
Provide training to educate workers and supervisors to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stress.
Continual safety training is essential to maintaining healthful practices in the work place.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 states that employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for employees. It is OSHA’s role to ensure that these conditions are provided for America’s working men and women. OSHA holds employers accountable by enforcing standards, and providing training and assistance.
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