Last year, in July, Pennsylvania experienced triple-digit temperatures and humidity during a heat wave.
A study conducted by the CDC shows that 8,081 heat-related deaths were recorded in the U.S. from 1999–2010. 94 percent of these heat related deaths were recorded in the month of May and September. This means you need a quick and simple plan to ready your workforce to beat the summer heat.
Awareness Of HRI
Firstly, educate people on the impacts of high heat exposure. Long hours spent in stressful and high-heat locations can cause different categories of heat related illnesses (HRI).
- Redness or rashes may develop due high heat exposure of the skin. This happens when the sweat glands are over-worked and the skin’s outer layer suffers considerably amount of sunburn.
- Heat causes sweating and this decreases water and electrolyte content in your body. Muscles start to lose function when they are low on electrolyte. Cramps caused by heat are usually located in the leg and abdomen area.
- Fainting spells or heat syncope can occur if a person remains in high temperatures for prolonged durations.
- High temperature can cause heat exhaustion, subjecting the person to headaches, vomiting, blurred vision, nausea, fainting spells, and excessive sweating.
- Heat stroke happens when the body temperature rises above 39.4°C, accompanied with headache, dry-red-hot skin, nausea, and dizziness.
Signs To Look Out For
Make sure your employees are aware of the symptoms and HRI conditions. Knowledge of symptoms allows administration of correct medical aid, and improves recovery time. If you notice an employee complain about these things, immediately take them to a cool room and provide water:
- Headaches, blackouts, dizziness.
- Disorientation in speech or physical ability.
- Sudden increase in heart rate.
- Redness or dryness of skin.
- Lips start to swell.
- Chills despite the hot weather.
Who Is At A Higher Risk?
- People aged 65 years or above.
- People who are overweight.
- People who have a medical condition such as, high blood pressure, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.
- Employees involved in a strenuous physical activity.
- People who consume temperature regulating medication.
What Role Can You Play In Employee Safety Against Heat?
Awareness and Training
Educate your employees with signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses. Make sure they know what type first aid needs to be provided to a heat-related victim.
Develop A Policy
If the nature of your business includes high amount of physical activity—like construction, auto shops, roofing—develop a plan to mitigate heat stress from the work environment.
You can also engineer changes to improve ventilation and air-flow around the work-space.
Be vigilant of weather forecasts; schedule work accordingly. You can assign work during the cooler part of the day and introduce break times to keep your work force hydrated.
Availability and visibility of water coolers act as a great reminder to keep people hydrated. Moreover, remind your staff to limit the intake of alcohol and caffeine to keep their bodies hydrated for longer periods.
Heat Preventing Supplies
Equip your workers with cooling vets, sunglasses, and caps to limit their heat exposure.
Bring the heat down with our health and wellness program. With JS Benefits Group’s smart dashboard, you can send hydration reminders and heat awareness messages to all your staff.