How companies are protecting workers from heat illness
OSHA recently asked employers and safety professionals to share their techniques for keeping workers safe from extreme heat. The agency said it received many responses and was impressed with the innovative efforts to keep workers safe during extreme heat conditions. Here are a few examples:
Valair Aviation on Oklahoma City, Okla., has 25-35 employees who work in aircraft hangars that can exceed 95 degrees. The aviation maintenance company purchased large fans, ice machines and filtered water dispensers and rotated jobs to cooler locations within the hangars. Valair also purchased new, lightweight t-shirts and allows employees to wear shorts when the outside temperature exceeds 82 degrees. Training classes were held to instruct workers on the signs of dehydration, heat cramps, and heat stroke. Nearly all of the workers have been certified in first aid, CPR, and defibrillator use so that if any incident of heat illness does occur they will know how to handle the situation until EMS arrives.
Baker Roofing, the nation's second largest residential and commercial roofing contractor, has taken several measures to keep its workers safe throughout the South and Southeast during extreme heat conditions. The company gave its workers cooling inserts for their hard hats, adjusted schedules to begin earlier and get workers off roofs by 2 p.m. daily, and provided each crew with water coolers and shade tents that they plan to equip with misting machines.
Safety Controls Technology, a workplace safety and health consultation company in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, produced a video titled "Beat the Heat" to educate clients on how to protect workers from heat illness. It emphasizes the importance of water, rest and shade; OSHA's heat safety app, and reminds viewers that indoor workplaces such as bakeries can also expose workers to heat illness hazards.