Summer is here, which means it’s that time of year to heighten our awareness of work-related heat stress and evaluate and improve our protocols, where necessary, to avoid the potential jobsite hazards this season brings.
According to OSHA, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illness and 18 died from heat stroke and related causes on the job in 2014 alone. Like most accidents, heat-related injuries and deaths are preventable. It starts with employers and employees working together to foster safe, incident-free work environments.
Employers have a responsibility to determine the level of heat risk associated with their worksites and contractors, and then take the necessary precautions to reduce those risks. Employees are responsible for following established procedures and controls and keeping their co-workers accountable for doing the same.
Establish yourself and your company as a leader on the frontlines of heat-stress prevention by being proactive in your training and implementation programs. For many companies, this means offering employees the chance to learn about heat safety from industry experts through forums, webinars, or training videos.
It’s also good practice to remain cognizant of current regulatory requirements in the places where you do business so you can understand what protective measures make the most sense for the people you work with. For example, California employers in the agricultural, construction, landscaping, oil and gas extraction, and transportation/delivery industries are required to do the following:
- Train employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
- Provide at least 1 quart of water per hour to each employee.
- Provide access to shade so employees can rest for at least five minutes.
- Integrate written procedures for complying with the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard.
Of course, Avetta can help you keep hot conditions from turning into dangerous situations as well. Utilizing a formal audit system to ensure contractors are up to date on current safety training applications is the first step to being prepared for hot-weather environments this summer. Learn more about how you can prevent heat-related illness, and have a safe summer!