How Businesses Can Beat the Heat and Keep their Workers Safe
In April, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) created a National Emphasis Campaign to highlight the workplace hazards of heat exposure. Every year, heat-related illnesses affect thousands of workers, and in some cases, even result in death. In fact, the Department of Labor reports that in the past three decades, the three-year average of workplace deaths caused by heat exposure has doubled.
High heat exposure in the workplace happens in a wide-range of jobs. Summertime outdoor work in construction, road building and repair, roofing, and oil and gas wells all pose risks for heat illnesses. Indoor workers can also be impacted, such as those working in insufficiently cooled warehouse spaces, or in environments with an intense heat source and/or high humidity, such as boiler rooms, iron and steel mills, and laundries.
OSHA’s safety message is pretty simple – dangerous heat illnesses, such as heat stroke, exhaustion, or cramps, can be avoided if workers in high heat situations have plenty of water, rest, and shade. The administration also emphasizes the importance of gradually acclimatizing employees to hot work environments, noting that most fatalities occur when the body has not yet built a tolerance to heat. Other important components of an effective safety strategy are training workers on the ways they can prevent heat stress, and monitoring and responding quickly to any signs of heat-related illnesses.
There are a number of safety products that businesses can provide for their workers who are exposed to high temperatures. For example, water coolers, sports drinks that help hydrate and replace electrolytes, and heavy-duty pop-up tents that provide much-needed shade are all items that should be present at any outdoor summer worksite.
In addition, there is now a class of wearable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that protect against heat exposure, and can even act as personal cooling systems. These include vests with multi-hour cooling inserts that can be worn under hazmat or other protective gear; cooling sleeves that wick away sweat, cool by evaporation, and provide UV protection; and sun shades that can quickly adapt a hard hat for work in the hot sun.
June is both National Safety Month and the official start to our hottest season of the year, which makes it an excellent time to focus on heat safety. As one of the Intermountain West’s leading providers of safety equipment and solutions, Industrial Supply Company has the products and expertise to ensure businesses have a heat illness prevention program that is tailored to their particular needs and keeps their workers safe. To learn more, please contact our Safety Sales Manager, Cody Naylor at (385) 910-8164 or email@example.com.