Help take the heat off your employees

by on November 29, 2011 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network
construction-heat

You know that jobs involving exposure to high temperatures, high humidity, physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous activity can cause serious heat stress-related health problems – even in the dead of winter. These can range from heat rash to heat stroke.

Generally, younger people and those who are physically fit can handle heat stress better than older workers and those who are not in good shape.

But even fit employees who are not used to the heat can have difficulties.

Not too hot to handle
Here are ways to help workers handle the heat:

  1. Help employees acclimate to the heat through short exposures followed by longer exposures to reduce heat stress. In particular, new employees and workers returning from an absence of two weeks or more should have a five-day period of acclimatization.This period should begin with 50% of the normal workload and time exposure the first day and gradually build up to 100% on the fifth day.
  2. Consider an employee’s physical condition when determining his or her fitness for working in hot environments. Older workers, obese workers and those on some types of medication are at greater risk. But be careful: Singling out individuals based on perception alone can lead to discrimination complaints.
  3. Educate employees on the need to replace fluids and salt lost through sweat and recognizing dehydration, exhaustion, fainting, heat cramps, salt deficiency, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke in themselves and others.

photo credit: satbir

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