Summer is right around the corner and with that brings the summer heat, which means workers across the United States will be more prone to heat exposure whether you're working outside or inside. As a worker, we should become aware of the dangers and health implications of heat exposure on the job as well as the preventative steps that we can take to ensure that we come home safely, and as an employer we should ensure that such awareness becomes a part of the safety culture within the workplace to ensure our workers have the tools, training, and knowledge they need to stay safe.
The dangers of heat exposure on the job-site are real and may pose risk of developing into serious heat related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat rash. Exposure to the sun, high heat and high humidity, lack of hydration, wearing heavy or tight fitting PPE or clothing, and increased level of activity can all contribute to such illnesses and these are all factors that we must take into account on the job site.
While not an exhaustive list, there are many ways that you can take meaningful steps to help protect your workers from heat exposure:
Take leadership and ensure that your workers are aware of the dangers of heat stress and the health implications that such exposure may have on them – whether you manage a landscaping company or warehouse.
Ensure that you know what your workers are walking into each and every day and prepare around that. Ensure that you know where your workers are and in the same sense make sure they are aware of their location geographically as well in the instance that emergency response is required and make sure that they have a means to stay in communication. Check in on your workers!
There are tools available to help you plan for the workday to gauge the risk of heat exposure:
- The National Weather Service (NWS)’s Heat Index Calculator (with available heat index forecasts and heat index chart available)
- OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool Smartphone App
- The National Weather Service’s prototype WetBulb Globe Temperature Tool
Plan around your knowledge for the workday and ensure that your workers are acclimated to the heat and/or schedule around the risk of heat exposure when possible.
Ensure that your workers are staying hydrated and resting in cool and shaded areas. Exposure to direct sunlight increases heat exposure significantly and therefore the risk of heat stress is greater. OSHA suggests hydrating at least every 15 minutes when exposed to the heat.
Plan for the worst and ensure that your workers are trained to identify the signs and symptoms of heat stress and that they are prepared to assist their co-workers and themselves in providing immediate care as well as in seeking emergency response.
Check out our selection of PPE to help reduce your heat stress at work:
Switching to lighter weight PPE or wearing cooling PPE or PPE that helps to provide shade can also help to reduce your level of heat exposure and here at HiVis365, we have ensured that we offer a wide selection of affordable, durable, and innovative PPE that helps to reduce the heat stress you face at work.
Cooling Vests – We offer two options of cooling vests that are lightweight, breathable, and activated simply by soaking in water for quick and long lasting relief from the summer heat.
Click here to shop cooling vests.
Cooling Headbands, Cooling Doo Rags, and Cooling Bandanas – We offer several options of cooling headwear that also provide quick relief from the heat by simply soaking in water to activate!
Hard Hat Cooling – We offer multiple cooling neck shades and cooling hard hat liners designed to provide relief under your hard hat from exposure to the heat, with quick and easy activation by simply soaking in water.
Moisture Wicking High Visibility Shirts – We offer lightweight and moisture wicking high visibility t-shirts designed to keep you visible on the job, while also keeping you cool and comfortable.
Mesh Safety Vests – Our large selection of mesh safety vests will help provide greater breathability while still maintaining the same level of visibility that you need on the job-site.
Hard Hat Neck Shields – We offer several options for high visibility hardhat neck shades that are lightweight, economical, and designed to help keep your neck shielded from the sun and to help you to stay cool on the job-site.
High Visibility Brimmed Hats – On a hot summer day, there is nothing better than extra shade and that’s exactly what our lightweight and breathable high visibility brimmed hats allow for, helping to keep you protected from the sun.
Mesh High Visibility Baseball Caps – We also offer mesh high visibility baseball caps that allow for breathability and maximum airflow while also keeping you protected from the sun.