With summer, come days of high temperature and heat exposure. Preparing for high-temperature days and heat exposure is a vital part of working outdoors in sunny Southern California. When someone works in hot conditions, their body sweats to attempt to get rid of the heat, but if the air temperature is around normal body temperature, that becomes difficult. When the body is unable to get rid of the excess heat, it will store it, which causes the core temperature to rise and the heart rate to increase. As the body stores more heat, it begins to cause the person to lose concentration, get sick and shut down.
That’s why it is imperative that both the employer and the employees take the necessary precautions to keep healthy, safe, and working without trouble. Any sort of work operation that involves contact with high temperatures, high humidity, radiant heat sources, physical contact with hot objects, or extensive physical activities, are conditions that could lead to heat-related illness or injury.
Follow safety practices and regulations in order to keep your employees healthy when they are in heat conditions. In fact, OSHA requires employers to provide a workplace for employees that are free from known safety hazards. Here are some safety tips to keep your workers safe and well hydrated during the summer working hours.
- Establish a heat illness prevention program to be implemented in the workplace.
- Provide your workers with plenty of water, shade, and time to rest.
- Make sure that new workers, or those returning, are able to have a gradual increase to their workload, as well as more frequent breaks, as they get used to working in heat conditions.
- Be sure to have a plan for emergencies as well as keep employees trained on how to prevent illness or injury.
- Monitor employees for signs of illness and teach them to do the same.
Heat exposure occurs both outdoors, as well as indoors, which means that specific things need to be addressed in each instance. Outdoor work environments that include working in hot weather and/or direct sunlight, increase the risk of heat-related injury or illness. Jobs such as landscaping, emergency response, hazardous waste, oil and gas well operations, farm work, and construction, are prone to dangerous heat conditions. Indoor work environments with hot conditions include chemical plants, kitchens, warehouses, laundries, iron and steel foundries, brick and ceramic plants, and electrical utilities.
While heat-related illness and injury still happen, it is entirely preventable. Both employees and employers need to take necessary precautions in order to keep everyone safe and healthy.
If you work outside you need to consider certain things in order to keep yourself healthy and safe.
- When you are working indoors, manage engineering controls such as air conditioning and ventilation in order to keep the environment cooler.
- Follow a work/rest cycle
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
- Take breaks in the shade often
Heat-related illness does not have to happen. Take proper precautions to make sure that you are safe while working in hot conditions. Be aware of signs that you may be experiencing heat-related illness and seek help if needed.
If you are feeling dehydrated and need medical attention, visit our walk-in clinics in Orange County.
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