According to OSHA, more than 40 percent of all heat-related worker deaths occur in the construction industry. Many more workers also become ill from extreme heat and humidity. With summer now in full effect, it’s time to re-evaluate your personal steps for keeping safe in the heat and how your company is going to help their employees stay safe.
Since 2011, OSHA has lead the charge on their Heat Illness Prevention campaign, offering training sessions, outreach events, and social media messaging, among others. Their overall message boils down to 3 words: Water. Rest. Shade.
While there are no specific heat-related safety standards in the OSHA handbook, the administration does hide behind the General Duty Clause, which states that employer’s should provide a workplace free of hazards. How that should be implemented is up to interpretation, but OSHA has suggested that employer’s provide worker’s with adequate water, rest, and shade; allow workers to take more frequent breaks; plan for emergencies and train workers on prevention; and monitor workers for signs of illness.
To help evaluate the risk level of heat related illnesses in your specific area, OSHA and NIOSH launched a smartphone application called the OSHA NIOSH Heat Safety Tool last year. Not only does it provide an hourly forecast of heat index, it determines whether your area is at minimal, low, moderate, high, or extreme risk and offers suggestions for precautions to take and tips for first aid. The app is free and can be downloaded for both Android and Apple devices.
OSHA is also gathering examples from companies around the country for how they deal with heat safety on their job sites. The construction companies on the list so far have stated they provide shade canopies with misting fans, give their employees cooling neck towels and hard hat shades, adjust work schedules, and provide training.
What are you or your company doing to stay cool on your job sites? Tell us in the comment section!
Full story: WATER. REST. SHADE. OSHA's Campaign to Keep Workers Safe in the Heat | OSHA