Employers can take a number of precautions to protect workers from the heat
[Reprinted with permission from SCF Arizona www.scfaz.com]
After a long winter, summer is finally coming.
And while we all know to take precautions in the heat, the heat-related death of a worker in Marana, Ariz., is a good enough reason to serve up a reminder of precautions to take.
Heat-related deaths are a primary weather-related killer.
Heat exhaustion symptoms include:
- Heavy sweating
- Pale or flushed complexion
- Extreme weakness or fatigue
- Muscle cramps
- Dizziness, confusion
- Clammy, moist skin
- Fast and shallow breathing
- Slightly elevated body temperature
Employees working in the heat should be trained in first-aid treatment of heat exhaustion.
When workers succumb to heat exhaustion:
- Place them in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area to rest.
- Help them drink plenty of water or other cool, nonalcoholic, noncaffeinated beverages.
- If possible, have them take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
Employers can take a number of precautions to protect workers from the heat:
First, schedule the most rigorous jobs for the coolest part of the day.
Workers should be allowed to become acclimatized to the heat by working for progressively longer periods in the heat.
Other important steps include:
- Lightening the physical workload and rotating workers
- Providing cool water or hydrating liquids (not caffeinated, sugary or alcoholic) for workers to drink
- Allowing workers to take rests with water in cool break areas
- Monitor those workers that are at higher risk of heat-related illness.
- Train employees to be alert to the signs of heat stress, prevention, and first-aid treatment
- Have workers wear light-colored, loose-fitting, cotton clothing and remind them that wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) may increase the risk of heat stress.Â