Several factors can lead to occupational heat stress among outdoor workers, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Employers are responsible for helping workers stay safe when heat threatens to cause exhaustion or illness.
Jobs that are physically taxing can increase the chances of a worker experiencing a heat-related illness, even when outdoor temperatures aren’t dangerous. Protective clothing and equipment can also increase the likelihood of a worker suffering from heat stress.
Employers Must Consider More Than Weather Reports
While it’s essential to watch local weather reports for heat advisories, it’s also crucial to consider the following:
- Weather reports typically include temperature measurements in the shade, but your employees who work in the sun may experience much hotter conditions.
- Weather reports do not measure the heat inside buildings or other structures where your employees may be working.
- Weather reports can’t account for heat from hot tar, ovens, heat-absorbing surfaces or fires.
- Weather reports can’t measure the increased heat workers may experience when working near water or metal reflecting the sun’s rays.
How to Help Keep Outdoor Workers Cool
Here are a few tips for keeping outdoor workers cool, even on the hottest days:
- Allow frequent breaks. Workers who perform their duties in the sun may need frequent breaks in the shade to help cool them down.
- Start the work day early. Air temperatures typically peak between 3 pm and 6 pm, so create a schedule that takes advantage of cooler morning temperatures.
- Encourage workers to dress appropriately. Ask workers to wear lightweight and breathable clothing to cover exposed skin.
- Provide ample hydration. Give workers the chance to hydrate with unlimited cool water. Sports drinks and coconut water can help workers suffering from heat exhaustion replace electrolytes.
Contact Us Today for Business Insurance
Organizations that employ outdoor workers need appropriate business insurance to help protect their workers and the company. Contact Dorsey & Associates Insurance in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, today to learn about workers’ compensation and liability coverage policies.
This blog is intended for informational and educational use only. It is not exhaustive and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact your insurance professional for further information.