With summer officially here, the hot weather has increased the risks involved in working outdoors.
To prevent heat-related work injuries and illnesses, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has compiled a list of safety precautions for workers and employers. ASSE is also encouraging all employers to be aware of the factors that can lead to heat stress, the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, how to prevent such illnesses, and how to minimize their harmful effects.
Every summer, thousands of workers experience heat illness, such as heat exhaustion, which if not promptly treated, can quickly become heat stroke, a sometimes fatal condition.
ASSE warned that there is no single way to prevent heat illnesses, and that there are several ways employees and employers can protect themselves, including:
• Using cooling pads that can be inserted into hard hats, or using vented hard hats
• Wearing eye protection with sufficient ventilation or anti-fog coating
• Using work gloves with leather palms and cotton, denim, or perforated backs for more airflow, or are equipped with a liner to absorb sweat
• Wearing light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton
• Taking breaks and drinking water regularly
• Opting for electrolyte replacement drinks
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, dizziness, or fainting, weakness, confusion, thirst, nausea, or vomiting.