In California and other U.S. western states, wildfires have become more frequent and intense, adversely impacting air quality and human health. Smoke from wildfires contains many toxins and irritants, including particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, which, due to their size, penetrate deep into the lungs and contribute to cardiopulmonary and respiratory illness.
With the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian still making headlines, it’s a good time to review your facility’s preparedness for extreme weather, which can strike at work as well as at home. In addition to being peak time for both Atlantic and Pacific hurricanes (more on that below), September is also National Preparedness Month – a reminder that it’s vital to be ready for all kinds of natural disasters.
As one of the most powerful hurricanes in history begins to batter the east coast of central Florida – and after that, possibly, Georgia and North and South Carolina, the American Heart Association (AHA) is reminding people that Hurricane Dorian poses a health risk to those in its path.
Today is National Heatstroke Prevention Day (July 31st), a good time to focus attention on precautions that should be taken against extreme heat and humidity.
Employees who are new to outdoor work at at greatest risk for heat-related illnesses. Cal/OSHA found that of 25 incidents of heat-related illness they investigated, almost half of the cases involved a worker on their first day of work.
With recent bouts of extreme heat affecting large parts of the nation – and more likely up ahead - heat stroke – when the body’s cooling system fails - has gained considerable attention as a risk for outdoor workers. Symptoms include a rapid heartbeat, hot, red skin due to the inability to sweat and internal temperatures rising to dangerous levels.
Outdoor workers can experience a number of hazards. One often unexpected hazard is a venomous snakebite. Venomous snakes may be encountered in workplaces throughout the United States. The most likely geographic locations where outdoor workers would encounter venomous snakes is in the American South, Southwest, and West. From 2008-2015, the greatest number of deaths from venomous snakebites occurred in the southern and mid-western United States.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has recorded five new public service announcements (PSAs) discussing how to keep workers safe while performing cleanup and recovery operations following hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes.
The 30-second audio messages, recorded in English and Spanish, cover potential hazards posed by chainsaws, downed power lines, unstable surfaces, contaminated floodwaters, and mold exposure.
The recent destructive barrage of tornadoes in Ohio, Kansas and Pennsylvania that took lives and demolished buildings is a reminder that “tornado season” – the time of year when most tornadoes happen – is far from over. The dangerous vortex of violent, rotating wind that accompanies a storm system occurs most often in the U.S. from April to June, although tornadoes can wreak havoc long before and after that time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, over 600 people die from complications related to extreme heat each year in the United States - more than tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, lightning or any other weather event combined.
Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, but it’s important to identify the warning signs and to react swiftly and appropriately when they arise.
Areas recovering from destructive Cyclone Fani will have to endure dangerous temperatures as a heat wave builds across northern and eastern India.
The heat already turned deadly with at least three deaths from sunstroke reported in Andhra Pradesh, according to OneIndia.