Dog Days of Summer
Originally posted July 26, 2013 by Chris Kilbourne on http://safetydailyadvisor.blr.com
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But when the dog days of summer roll around, take the opportunity for refreshing refresher training on how to stay safe when working in the heat.
Working outdoors in summer heat can be more than uncomfortable—it can be downright dangerous. As part of a focus on the hazards of working safely in warm temperatures, OSHA and Florida employers held a voluntary safety stand-down in early June. The goal was to stop work for an hour and conduct safety training on symptoms of heat-related illness and how to keep workers safe.
Worksites in other states across the southeast, including Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, also participated in stand-down events.
The combination of heat and humidity that is common in Florida and other parts of the country is especially hazardous. The problem is that performing labor-intensive activities like agriculture, construction, roofing, and landscaping in hot weather can raise body temperatures beyond levels that can be cooled by sweating.
Train your workers to follow these OSHA-recommended basic precautions:
- Drink small amounts of water frequently;
- Take frequent breaks in cool shade;
- Eat smaller meals before working;
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar;
- Work in the shade if possible;
- Be aware that respirators or work suits can increase heat stress;
- Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, and a wide-brim hat; and
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
If it’s not already on your training calendar, consider devoting an upcoming safety meeting to heat-related safety. You need to provide information and take precautions to protect your workers. Learn more at http://www.OSHA.gov/heat.
Why It Matters
- Every year, thousands of employees across the country suffer from serious heat-related illness.
- If not addressed, heat exhaustion can become heatstroke, which can be deadly.
- Avoid allowing your employees to get anywhere near the point of heatstroke by refreshing their safety training on working in the heat regularly throughout the summer months.