Working in the Heat

 
Summer is here and the construction season is in full swing. With it come a variety of risks that may be unique to this time of the year. Below are some common heat related risks and tips.

Heat related illness comes in different forms; Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion.

Heat Stroke may be life-threatening with symptoms that include confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness.

Heat Exhaustion results from heavy sweating and loss of water and electrolytes. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, thirst and weakness. With both conditions, it is important to get the worker into a cool shaded area, cool the body with ice packs and seek medical attention.

There are many hazards to be on the lookout for while on the jobsite. These include:
 
  •         High Humidity
  •         Prolonged Exposure to the Sun and other heat
  •         Demanding workloads
  •         PPE or other specialized equipment
  •         Extremely High Temps
The key to minimizing exposure is to provide water, rest and shade. It is recommended that you drink one quart of water per hour in extreme conditions. Providing fully shaded rest areas is important in your overall safety plan.
OSHA recommends gradually increasing exposure and workloads to allow the body to acclimate during hot weather. Their recommendations include:
  • Employee's returning after an absence or a new hire - Take no more than 20% of the workload the first day and increasing by 20% each day.
  • Experienced workers should take on no more than 50% of the workload during the first day of a heat wave.
OSHA recommends having a hot weather plan in place. This should include:
  • Training - Develop a solid plan to help workers understand the signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses.
  • Monitoring - A buddy system should be in place to help workers keep an eye on each other.
  • Emergency Plan - A written plan should exist that outlines the procedure when heat related illness is imminent that includes how and when to call for emergency medical help.
OSHA has released a new Heat Safety App, click here to get you smartphone App. 

With a heat illness prevention program in place, you can expect employees to continue to be productive and energized throughout the summer. Capital Safety Services can help you in all aspects of the developing a sound program to protect your workers.

 

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