For many parts of the United States, summertime means lounging by the pool and enjoying the great weather. However, for others, summertime means excessive heat warnings, the danger of heat stroke, and other heat-related illnesses.
How to Keep Workers Safe in the Heat
For workers exposed to high temperatures, proper safety measures are critical to their health and welfare. As an employer, it is essential that you outline heat safety precautions when dealing with a hot work environment. Here are 3 ways to keep workers safe in the heat:
Offer Heat Aids
One way to beat the heat is to offer tools and opportunities for employees to cool down. When working in environments that exceed 100 degrees, it is essential to have a supply of cold water readily available for your employees. It is vital that on-site supervisors are tracking the amount of water consumption for each employee to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
In addition to water, if your employees are working outside, it is important to provide shaded areas for employees to take a break away from the direct sunlight. While at a minimum you should be providing shade, some companies are taking it a step further by providing cooling vests and water bottle back packs to stay cool and hydrated.
As you begin your hiring process, be transparent and honest about the hot environment and conditions. By providing all of the details up front, employees can be better prepared for what to expect in terms of the work environment and position.
Be aware that hot environments are not for everyone. It is essential that your staff is properly trained on signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke in order to avoid injury or even death.
In the event that you do have an employee who suffers from a heat-related injury, it is critical that you have a plan in place on how to treat and avoid any further damage. A proper heat illness prevention plan should include the following topics:
- Provision of water and shade
- High-heat procedures
- Emergency response procedures
- Training and acclimatization
Invest in Your Employees
Companies with hot work environments often offer to pay workers 10-20% more to work in a difficult environment. However, along with differential pay, companies need to implement crucial heat safety procedures to ensure their team is properly trained and have the necessary resources to avoid injury or illness.
Follow these three methods above to start investing in the protection of your employees today.