Heat Stress: How to Protect Your Workers
Having employees who work outside means that they are sometimes subject to the elements. With summer here, you want to make sure your employees are not suffering in the heat, and they are able to continue working safely all summer. In the hot weather, heat stress becomes a real safety concern as it can lead to cramps, rashes, and even heat stroke (a potentially fatal condition). Heat stress can also lead to other occupational safety issues, as it can cause dizziness which may lead to further injury.
Here are a few ways you can make sure that your employees are protected from heat stress.
Allow breaks as necessary
This is probably the biggest part in making sure your employees are safe when working in the heat. Allow everyone to take breaks as they need to in order to get out of the heat for awhile. This will also give them a chance to fill up their water bottles so that they can remain hydrated throughout the day.
Provide a clothing budget
Just like it’s important to ensure your employees have the right clothing for winter, they also need to have the right protection for summer. If they are working outside, then they will need to make sure they are dressed appropriately. Providing a clothing budget for your employees can help them to have the right protective clothing so they don’t overheat during the day.
Cut days a little shorter or change shift times
You want to get as much work done as possible, but during the summer months you may have to work shorter hours in order to protect your employees from heat stress.
In some cases, teams may choose to work at night or early mornings when it’s cooler and they are not exposed to direct sun. This may not be possible for every type of work or team, but when you can, this may be a good way to protect them from the summer sun.
Use equipment where possible
If you can use equipment or machinery to reduce the amount of manual labour needed to complete a task, it can help reduce the risk of heat stress for your employees.
This may be a little more expensive, at first, than just paying employees, but it can save your employees from overheating or getting heat stroke which is not only the right thing to do, but beneficial in the long run.
Provide your employees with drinking water
You may encourage your employees to bring their own water bottles, but if you can provide drinking water for your employees throughout the day, it’s a good way to make sure they stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is one of the most important things to do to prevent heat related illness.
While you are going to do everything you can to make sure your employees are safe while working in the heat, there can still be incidents that arise.
To make sure your employees are prepared for any incidents, providing them with training can really help. Train your employees to recognize the signs of heat stress and even train them in first aid so that they are able to help fellow employees on the job site.
You may also want to consider having a safety meeting at the beginning of each shift to remind your workers what the likely risks are and how they can best look out for one another.
Contact TeksMed today
While your first line of defense against heat stress should always be prevention, there may be times when you’ll need to turn to your disability management and return to work programs. For assistance in developing these for your company, contact TeksMed today.