It's Getting Hot in Here
Summertime comes with the risk of heat-related illnesses for employees.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 43 work related deaths due to environmental heat exposure in 2019.
On April 8, Federal OSHA released a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to protect workers across the country from the increasing threat of heat-related illness. While state plans are not yet required to adopt the program, they are strongly encouraged by Federal OSHA to do so.
What could that mean for your workplace? On days when the National Weather Service issues a heat warning advisory, OSHA can conduct programmed inspections in targeted high-risk industries.
What could OSHA ask about if they visit your workplace? OSHA could investigate the following:
- Review your OSHA 300 logs for previous heat-related illnesses
- Inquire after a written prevention program on heat-related illnesses
- Request information on how you monitor ambient temperature
- Ensure your employees have access to unlimited cool water
- Determine whether your business provides ample hydration breaks, access to adequate shade or cooled areas, and scheduled breaks
- Ensure you are properly training employees on heat-related illness prevention, symptoms, and reporting exposures
Regardless of whether you are in a state where the Heat NEP will apply to you, it is a great idea to train employees and have a plan in place should one of your employees experience a heat-related illness. Here are links to a few of my favorite heat-related resources:
- OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool – This resource is available via an Android/Apple app. It calculates the heat index, displays risk levels and provides protective measures for employees.
- OSHA’s Heat Resource Page – This page offers information on heat-related illnesses and first aid. It also outlines prevention measures, personal risk factors and offers case studies.
- CDC Extreme Heat – The CDC describes signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, prevention tips to “beat the heat” and some fun heat-related social media graphics.
- Hydration Tool Box Talk Idea – This article compares the color of urine to levels of dehydration. While a little gross, it does seem to be memorable for some groups.
If you need help developing a heat-illness prevention program or would you like your current plan reviewed, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay safe and COOL!
This publication has been prepared by TrueNorth Companies, L.C. and is intended for informational purposes only. Transmission of this publication is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a client relationship with TrueNorth Companies, L.C. This publication does not constitute any type of representation or warranty, and does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice. This publication is not a contract and does not amend, modify or change any insurance policy you may have with an insurance carrier. © 2022 TrueNorth Companies, L.C. All rights reserved.
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