Tips for Protecting Workers from Heat Stress
The summer is nearly upon us. In fact, it’s already pretty hot in some areas. Although many people look forward to the warm weather, high temperatures pose a serious hazard to workers, especially those who work outside.
That’s why the workplace safety agency in California just launched a heat illness prevention campaign. The agency’s heat illness webpage provides lots of good information on heat stress and related illnesses. Here are some tips it has:
- Train workers on the dangers of heat illness and how to recognize the signs and symptoms of the two main types of heat illness: heat stroke and heat exhaustion
- Provide workers at risk of heat illness with cool, fresh water to drink
- Provide a shaded area for workers to cool down in
- Give workers time to get used to the heat, especially new workers and during a heat wave
- Try to limit outside or especially rigorous work to the cooler times of day
- Prepare a heat stress plan for preventing heat illnesses and responding to them when they occur.
Workers at risk of heat illness should:
- Drink water every 15 minutes—even if they’re not thirsty
- Wear a hat and light-coloured clothing
- Watch out for signs of heat illness in co-workers
- Rest in the shade
- Immediately report any symptoms of heat illness to their supervisor.
OHS Insider Resources
Go to the OHS Insider’s Heat Stress Compliance Center for more information on heat stress and other heat illnesses, including
- Legal obligation to protect workers from heat stress
- How to create a hot weather plan
- A model humidex-based heat stress response plan
- The role of heat stress monitors
- A hand out for workers on the danger signs of heat illnesses
- Several videos on heat stress.