Hot Weather Alert
Employers are responsible for providing workplaces that are safe from excessive heat. Yet every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. Heat illnesses and deaths are preventable. The risk of heat-related illnesses and deaths increases during warm summer months; humidity increases the risk. Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: body temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include:
• Extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
• Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
• Rapid, strong pulse
• Throbbing headache
How can heat illness be prevented?
Employers should establish a complete heat illness prevention program to prevent heat illness. This includes: provide workers with water, rest and shade; gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks for new workers or workers who have been away for a week or more to build a tolerance for working in the heat (acclimatization); modify work schedules as necessary; plan for emergencies and train workers about the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and their prevention; and monitor workers for signs of illness. Workers new to the heat or those who have been away from work and are returning can be most vulnerable to heat stress and they must be acclimatized.
To prevent heat-related illness and fatalities:
• Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
• Rest in the shade to cool down.
• Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
• Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
• Keep an eye on fellow workers.
• "Easy does it" on your first days of work in the heat. You need to get used to it.
If workers are new to working in the heat or returning from more than a week off, and for all workers on the first day of a sudden heat wave, implement a work schedule to allow them to get used to the heat gradually. Working in full sunlight can increase heat index values by 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep this in mind and plan additional precautions for working in these conditions.
Remember these three simple words: water, rest, shade. Taking these precautions can mean the difference between life and death. For more information or help, contact the Insurance professionals of EPIC’s CRA ProRental™ Insurance Program. Call us at: 800.234.6363.