No matter where you are, from North to South, the hot summer weather can severely impact the work performed by employees outside or in non-climate controlled facilities. That is why OSHA stresses the importance of water, rest, and shade during the summertime. When the temperatures are scorching, sweating isn’t enough to keep the body cool. To pass on the best information, it is essential to know what to advise and how to watch out for dangerous situations with your employees. Here are the three aspects of keeping your employees safe in the heat.
It is recommended that individuals get at least eight 8-ounce servings of water a day. In excessive heat, dehydration is a major concern, so workers may actually need more water than that to remain healthy and safe. Provide enough water, and water breaks, that your staff can cool off and quench their thirst throughout the work day. Encourage your staff to drink water every 15 minutes, even if they do not think they’re thirsty.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are not matters to be taken lightly. When encouraging your staff to take water breaks, make sure they are resting adequately to help cool down. This is especially important for new workers who have not yet become acclimated to working in the heat. Encourage them to take more frequent breaks as their bodies get used to the work they are doing outside. Gradually increase workloads for these employees so they do not suffer the negative effects of strenuous work in the heat.
For frequent breaks, provide an area that is in the shade so workers can get out of direct sunlight to cool off. Shade works quickly and it doesn’t take long for someone to cool down once they are out of the sun. Also mandate that employees wear light colored clothes and hats to protect themselves from the sun. Not only can heat cause exhaustion, but sunburn will also create physical discomfort or worse.
With these in place, you can ensure your staff is safe and comfortable in the summer. It is also essential to train your management staff and employees to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke and to take action if someone is affected.
Do you want to know more about safety in the summer months?
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