The coronavirus (COVID-19) brings new and unprecedented risks to the workplace, one of the most notable being the exposure and transmission of the disease among people who are in close proximity to one another. However, the transmission of the virus is not the only risk that workers face in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. With 2020 projected to be one of the hottest summers on record, the additional personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements can compound existing heat-related hazards.
Excessive heat is a serious health risk for workers, causing or contributing to heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rash, dizziness, slips, vision impairment, tool and equipment injuries, falling objects, burn injuries, toxic exposure, fire hazards and more. In 2015, heat exposure contributed to 37 work-related deaths and 2,830 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.