If you employ Summer seasonal workers, and/or if you are adding to your employee complement right now, pay extra attention to this.  The next few days are expected to reach temperatures in the 90’s, and hot days call for heat-related safety measures. OSHA reports that the highest incidences of heat-related worker deaths occur in their first three days at work, and 1/3 occur on the very first day.

It takes approximately 14 days to acclimate to hot weather, so when the temperatures are variable at the beginning of the season (when few are truly acclimated yet) extra caution should be taken.

  • Make sure plenty of water is available.  Water is preferable to soft drinks or other beverages to keep the body hydrated. Workers should drink water regularly, about 8 ounces every 15-20 minutes in hot conditions.
  • Provide protective clothing and gear for your employees, like hats, heat-reflective shirts, or water cooled garments.
  • Find shade or air conditioned spots for breaks from the sun. Although shade is not actually cooler in air temperature, it feels 10-15 degrees cooler. Plants transpire water to deal with the heat, so finding a patch of grass under a shade tree can be a cool respite.
  • Provide regular rest periods so employees can drink water and recuperate.
  • Train your workers to recognize the signs of heat-related illness. Dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps and headaches are only a few of the symptoms. If symptoms are severe, contact emergency personnel.  Heat-related illness can be deadly.

Were you aware that OSHA has a Heat Safety Tool app for your smart phone? Both Apple and Android versions are available. Download it and stay on top of the risks to your workforce. The app shows you the current temp and the predicted high temperature for the day so you can plan ahead for heat safety risks.  The app also contains safety support information for the level of heat risk you are facing on a particular day.

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