If your business has employees that works outdoors, Summertime brings challenges. How do you keep your employees cool and able to work in extreme temperatures?
Under OSHA law, employers are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety hazards, which includes protecting workers from extreme heat.
An employer with workers exposed to high temperatures should establish a complete heat illness prevention program.
- Provide workers with water, rest and shade
- Allow new or returning workers to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they acclimatize, or build a tolerance for working in the heat
- Plan for emergencies and train workers on prevention
- Monitor workers for signs of illness
Symptoms of heat illness include confusion, fainting, seizures, excessing sweating and dizziness.
Signs of heat illness
If you notice an employee showing signs of heat-related illness, have them sit or lie down in a cool, shady area. Provide water to drink and cool the worker with cold compressed ice packs. If signs or symptoms worsen or do not improve, seek medical help by calling 911.
To help prevent heat-related illnesses, schedule appropriate work/rest cycles throughout the day. When possible, strenuous work should be scheduled to avoid the peak heat of the day. Rotate job functions among workers and have employees work in a buddy system to watch out for each other.
Train your employees on your heat illness prevention program and watch your employees carefully for signs of a heat illness.