SAFETY: Dog days of summer bring threat of heat illness
Hot sun and no shade? Check. Long hours of physical labor? Check. Non-breathable clothing and no water? Check. Sounds like you’ve got everything you need for a heat illness!
As summer approaches, employees who work outdoors in direct sunlight or in hot environments are increasingly susceptible to heat-induced illnesses such as heat stress, heat exhaustion or the more serious heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke include confusion, irrational behavior, loss of consciousness, abnormally high body temperature and hot, dry skin.
Employers in California and Washington are required to protect workers by following their state’s heat illness prevention rule, but all employers should help employees stay healthy by providing plenty of water and frequent rest periods in a cool recovery area. Check out OSHA’s fact sheets, “Protecting Workers from Effects of Heat” and “Working Outdoors in Warm Climates,” and call your Vigilant safety professional for more heat illness prevention information and recommendations.