While worker safety is always important, summer heat poses some unique challenges for those who work in hot conditions. That includes a vast range of occupations, from road construction to restaurant kitchens, from iron foundries to laundries, and from warehouses to mining.
A person who is over-heated may experience fatigue, fainting and disorientation, putting them and other workers at risk. To reduce heat-related health concerns, consider these summer worker safety tips:
When your equipment overheats, it stops working properly. So does the human body. If your employees work in hot conditions, indoors or out, then you, your management and staff should know the warning signs for heat-related illness. Additionally, OSHA offers a fact sheet on “Protecting Workers from the Effects of Heat,” with guidelines on creating a heat illness prevention program.
People who work in the heat need to stay hydrated. Start by drinking even before you’re thirsty! Health experts recommend that those working under stressful heat conditions drink two to four glasses of cool liquids each hour.
Employers should encourage hydration by making sure workers have easy access to water and restrooms. Consider providing sports drinks that help replenish important nutrients.
NOTS Logistics recommends cycling your work to minimize long periods of heat exposure. If that isn’t possible, take a short break every hour in the shade or a cooler spot indoors. This enables your heart rate and internal heat production to slow so your body can cool down.
Workers who can’t avoid sun, heat and humidity should protect themselves with sunscreen, a hat and appropriate clothing.
Employers should give new workers time to acclimate to hot working conditions by scheduling part of their day indoors. Provide a tent for sun relief if a shady or cool indoor area is not available at the work site.
It can be difficult to manage the temperature in large working environments. Industrial battery manufacturer Hawker recommends considering system and building improvements that can help keep warehouses cooler. Their suggestions range from utilizing industrial fans and dehumidifiers to installing energy-efficient insulation and roofing to planting shade trees around the factory.
Safety Makes Sense
Keep warehouse workers and outdoor crews safe during the summer by controlling their environment to minimize heat exposure as much as possible. Take the proper precautions against heat-related illness and injury by providing the right tools, equipment and systems. Protecting your workers’ health and safety will ultimately help maintain productivity – and staff morale.
If you’re in need of additional staff this summer, get in touch with TPD.