It’s not just hot, it’s one of the hottest summers in history! With that in mind, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) started a “Heat Illness Prevention” campaign last week, to include a website and extensive guidance. Here’s a few points to remember.

Create a Heat Illness Prevention Plan
OSHA recommends employers with workers exposed to these summer 100-plus degree temperatures should develop a heat illness prevention program. Employers should consider:

Provide Day-to-Day Supervision
Employers should designate individuals to monitor conditions and implement the heat plan. In addition, they should provide training for:

Protect New Workers
An interesting and perhaps less known consideration is workers must “acclimate” when working in heated environments. Employers should understand new workers may not be used to the heat and are at higher risk of illness. To acclimate workers, the following steps should be taken over a 1-2 week period:

OSHA recommends a “Rule of 20 percent” for building heat tolerance, involving shorter workdays that increase over 1-2 weeks. New workers should work only 20% of the normal duration on the first day, and increase 20% on subsequent days.

Engineering Controls
Employers may explore engineering controls to make the work environment cooler, including:

Personal Protective Equipment
In certain situations, equipment or clothing may provide protection. These include insulated suits, reflective clothing, face shields, cooling neck wraps and cooling vests utilizing ice/cooling packs.

Hydration, Rest and Shade
Employers should provide hydration, rest and shade in a manner that is readily accessible. OSHA suggests cool water for shorter jobs and electrolyte-containing sports beverages for jobs more than two hours.

With that said, please have a safe and healthy summer!