Outdoor workers—construction workers, bakery workers, farmers—have the highest risk of suffering from the heat.
As Texans endure extreme temperatures this summer, it’s important that we stay safe when spending time outdoors in order to avoid things like heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. These illnesses are categorized under the term “heat stress,” which happens when the body is unable to cool itself off through sweating.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): “Workers at risk of heat stress include outdoor workers and workers in hot environments such as firefighters, bakery workers, farmers, construction workers, miners, boiler room workers, factory workers, and others. Workers at greater risk of heat stress include those who are 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat.” Overall, people that work outside have a higher risk of experiencing heat stress.
Below are indicators and tips from Society Insurance that can help when experiencing high temperatures this summer.
Dangerous Heat Situations
Consider these situations that can elevate your body temperature to dangerous levels.
- High temperatures
- Increased humidity
- Strong sun
- No air movement
- No controls in place to minimize the impacts of equipment that radiates heat
- Wearing protective clothing or gear
- Strenuous work
Best Practices for Working in Heat
Implement these best work practices to prevent heat stress.
- Limit time in hot environment
- Take numerous breaks in cool environment
- Drink a lot of cool water or non-caffeinated drinks
- Acclimate employees to hot conditions over 7 to 14 days
- Train employees to spot signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses
- Train employees on first aid procedures and when it’s time to contact emergency services
- Train employees on the cause of heat stress and ways to reduce these risk
Heat Safety Resources
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a helpful training tool that can be downloaded for use in training employees on risk factors for heat illnesses, symptoms of heat exhaustion/heat stroke, prevention measures, how to protect yourself, and what to do when someone is ill from the heat.