Prepare your employees for heat-related illnesses

J.J. Keller & Associates
Tags: workplace safety

Hot weather has returned again, and many parts of the country are already seeing summer-like conditions. Heat and humidity can create hazardous working conditions that employers have to be aware of. Heat stress occurs in a hot environment when the body can no longer dissipate heat efficiently.

Typically, we see heat stress as a workplace issue in hot and humid conditions when there is moderate to strenuous work being performed. But radiant heat, air movement, PPE, and medical conditions can all affect an individual's response to heat.

Protect your employees by trainingthem on the cause of and the signs and symptoms of heat stress, and how to treat it. Heat cramps, heat collapse, and heat fatigue are all common heat-related conditions that are corrected by changing the employees work environment, workload, and water intake. Other, more serious forms of heat stress include heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is a serious problem, and heat stroke is life threatening.

There are a number of things that you can do to keep your workers safe in hot weather.

You owe it to yourself and to your employees to understand the hazards of heat stress and how to protect workers in hot weather. You need to understand how water, worker clothing, rest breaks, and acclimatization affect heat-related illnesses, and how well your workers fare in hot weather.

KellerOnline's Heat Stress topic for general industry, mining, and California provides you with links to regulations, LOIs, FAQs, and Interactive Tools.

Employee training is a key to your success in managing heat-related illnesses. KOL offers various training programs that you can use to educate your employees on heat stress, including online training, classroom-based training, and five-minute toolbox talks.

The Heat Stress topic also provides you with links to sample written plans and a best practice article that you can use or adapt for your workplace. 

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