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The Heat is On: How to Manage Heat Stress In The Workplace


Picture source: LINK Staffing


Summer has arrived and some days are extremely hot. To cope with the heat, people seek shade, cold drinks or air conditioning whenever possible. But what about workers whose jobs require working in extremely hot and humid environments? Heat exposure is a potential health problem for indoor and outdoor workers. The severity of heat stress can range from intense thirst, feeling weak and exhausted, to uncontrollable heat stroke and death if you do not take appropriate precautions through education. education and prevention. For them, the heat, both indoors and outdoors, can be downright dangerous. Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to high temperatures at work, and some of them die from heat stress. These illnesses and deaths can be avoided with training and workplace protection measures.


While heat can be incredibly dangerous, preventing heat stress isn’t complicated. The following eight tips can be taken to help reduce the risk of heat stress in the workplace:


1. Establish a heat illness prevention program

Include safe working practices and emergency procedures. Define a safe environment (temperature and humidity) and specify how long you can work in a hot environment.


2. Provide education and training

Ensure you are aware of the risks of heat stress associated with their work and ensure they understand the symptoms to look out for.


3. Reduce exposure to hot environments

Design work timetables around the weather with the most strenuous work scheduled for cooler times of the day.


4. Increase air circulation

Use fans, air conditioning and ventilation to lower temperatures; and physical structures that reduce exposure to radiant heat or create shade.


5. Monitor the health of workers

Check those who are most at risk of heat stress due to the nature of their job or because of an illness, condition or medication.


6. Prevent dehydration

Preventing dehydration is a literal lifesaver during extreme heat. Heat-related illnesses like heat cramps and heat exhaustion are the result of dehydration on top of high body temperature. When your employees are working through physical activity and heavy sweating without plenty of fluids, their muscles and brain function will begin to suffer, resulting in the above illnesses.


7. Cooling clothes

The clothes your employees wear can also be adapted to help prevent heat stress. Generally, light, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable materials is the best option for working in hot weather, especially in direct sun exposure. They can help with the body’s ability to regulate temperature, and they can provide protection against sunburn.


8. Supply appropriate clothing

Outside workers should wear light, loose-fitting clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen. Be aware that protective equipment may increase risk of heat stress and provide more rest breaks for these employees.


Source: LINK Staffing, Zurich, Alert Media

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