Posted on 05/19/2016, by Jeremy Edsall
OSHA’s Water, Rest, Shade Campaign Promotes Safety for Outdoor Workers
Fatigue, dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious concerns for outdoor workers during the summer months. Each year scores of worker deaths are attributed to heat stroke. Encouraging workers to be cognizant of heat-related illness, as well as teaching your employees about the importance of staying cool and hydrated, is an effective tool for preventing heat-related injuries.
There are a number of misconceptions about heat stress; for example, younger and healthy workers generally believe they are immune to the effects of hot weather. In fact, heat-related illness can strike workers of any age (regardless of physical-fitness). Make sure your workers are on the lookout for the early warning signs of heat illness:
• Headache, dizziness or fainting
• Weakness and wet skin
• Irritability, nausea or vomiting
If an employee is exhibiting the following symptoms, he or she may have already fallen victim to heat stroke:
• Confusion and an inability to think clearly
• Loss of consciousness
• Stopped sweating
Employers can prevent heat-related injuries and illness in the workplace by taking a few simple steps. Employers should provide an abundance of cool water to workers (at least one pint of water per hour is needed), work sites should have a shaded area for employees to rest, and employees should be educated on the hazards leading to heat stress and how to avoid them. For additional resources, training materials, workplace posters and employee handouts, visit the OSHA web site.