(part 1 of 2)
As we progress through the Summer where the weather is significantly impacting many parts of the US, it is important to be vigilant and even redundant in our reminding of workers and Supervisors to be aware of the weather and how it can adversely affect workers. The first of these hazards is that of heat illness and its prevention.
Heat illnesses include heat stroke which is the most dangerous and also includes heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat syncope, and heat rash. The basic message that OSHA has as part of their ongoing campaign is “Water, Rest, Shade” with more information being found on their Heat Illness Prevention page at www.OSHA.gov. It is important for workers to know the ways to prevent heat illnesses. It is even more important for the Supervisors to understand their responsibilities as representatives of the employer to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards by knowing the employers responsibility to provide water, rest, and shade to workers that are working in areas, indoor or outdoor, that have high humidity and high air temperatures with little air movement. It is important for the Supervisors and workers to know the signs and symptom of a heat illness. While prevention of heat illnesses are the best approach, early recognition of a heat illness and the intervention of the Supervisor, the worker, and the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan with the use of first-aid/CPR trained workers to treat the worker is just as important. More information can be found on an updated OSHA poster titled “Heat Illness: Prevent Heat Illness at Work” available here.
The second of weather hazards is that of severe weather and protections from such weather hazards will be covered in a second part later.
For more information and/or assistance, contact:
Wayne Vanderhoof CSP, CIT
RJR Safety Inc.