Every day in the United States, 11 workers are seriously injured or die from a 100% preventable injury—heat stress. The World Bank estimates that annual US heat-induced labor productivity losses were over $76 billion in 2010 and are on track to exceed a whopping $584 billion by 2030!
Summer may be officially over, but for many of us, the heat’s still on! In fact, just this July, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a La Niña Watch. That means it’s likely that much of the country may see above average or significantly above average temperatures well into fall.
Workers who are required to do their jobs in extremely hot environments — from construction sites to chemical plants and offshore oil rigs — can be at risk of serious heat-related injuries and illnesses.
Industrial work environments are not ideal for comfort. They are often hot, stuffy, and stifling. Factor in the appropriate PPE that many workers are required to wear, and regulating body temperature can become extremely difficult, if not impossible. Without preventative measures, the results can be fatal.
The topic of worker heat exposure has made headlines across the country in recent years. In January of this year, OSHA leveled a fine of $149,664 for violations of the General Duty Clause in response to the 2018 death of a California Postal Worker.
Superman doesn't sweat. It's something I recently found out. It doesn't make sense to me, but I guess that when you're pretty much invulnerable and you shoot laser beams from your eyes, it's no surprise that he doesn't overheat. For us mere mortals, we need to deal with the everyday occurrence of being susceptible to extreme temperatures.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in 2015 there were 2,905,900 recordable cases of workplace injuries and 4,836 workplace fatalities. All companies should have an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) to help identify hazards in the workplace and protect all employees.