Exposure to extreme heat, or humid work environments pose a risk of heat stress if not managed correctly. Heat stress can result in a variety of occupational illnesses and injuries such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or rashes.
Generally, while heat stress can affect anyone, older workers and or workers with underlying health conditions including being overweight, heart disease or high blood pressure and those who have suffered a previous heat illness are more susceptible to heat related illnesses than others.
The primary goal of employers, when it comes to heat related illnesses, must be prevention. Preventing heat stress is obtained by various methods, including but not limited to, evaluating and monitoring work conditions to determine work/rest schedules and employee wellbeing during hotter temperatures, training workers so that they understand the dangers of heat stress and proper hydration, providing adequate acclimation periods to hotter climates and monitoring how it affects their health and safety, and providing drinking water and shaded cool-down areas.
The OSHA-NIOSH app below is used by all Cust-O-Fab Management and is a great tool that can be used to plan tasks that have potential for resulting in a heat related incident.
The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool features:
- A visual indicator of the current heat index and associated risk levels specific to your current geographical location
- Precautionary recommendations specific to heat index-associated risk levels
- An interactive, hourly forecast of heat index values, risk level, and recommendations for planning outdoor work activities in advance
- Editable location, temperature, and humidity controls for calculation of variable conditions
- Signs and symptoms and first aid information for heat-related illnesses