ANSI Z308.1-2015 Standard Minimum Requirements  Workplace First Aid Kits and Supplies - Buy new ANSI Kits
ANSI Z308.1-2015 Standard Minimum Requirements Workplace First Aid Kits and Supplies - Buy new ANSI Kits

How Excessive Heat Impacts Worker Safety

Excessive heat in the workplace is a very real hazard. In 2014, 18 U.S. workers lost their lives because of overheating. Over 2,600 more suffered heat-related illness. As heartbreaking as these statistics are, it’s even more tragic when you realize that in all probability, most or all of these casualties could have been prevented.

Keeping cool at work isn’t just a matter of comfort. Let’s take a look at workplace heat exposure, how it affects workers, and how heat injury on the job can be avoided.

What Is Heat Illness?
The human body is designed to maintain a constant internal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. When a person’s environment gets too warm, his or her body reacts by trying to cool down through sweating and increased blood circulation (higher heart rate). Prolonged and/or unrelieved exposure to heat (especially when the air is humid or still) can overwhelm the body and cause these coping mechanisms to fail or to become dangerously excessive. When this happens, the person will experience one or more of the following heat-related illnesses:

  • Heat rash
  • Heat cramps
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat stroke

 

Electrolyte Replacement Tablets - Help to Prevent Muscle Cramps and Heat Prostration due to Excessive Perspiration. Electrolyte Tablets are available in convenient two packs. When a person sweats, small amounts of electrolytes – the electrically charged minerals sodium, potassium, chloride, and magnesium – are lost from the body along with water. Electrolytes are chemical substances which, when dissolved or lost in sweat, are missing the electrically charged particles or ions. These ions are necessary for cellular metabolism, for intra- and extra-cellular chemical balance, and for assisting in the neuro-metabolic expenditure of caloric energy. Basically, many normal bodily functions are dependent on these substances. As important as the fuel you consume and the water you drink during exercise is a consistent replenishment of electrolytes. Regular body functions, and performance performance, are severely compromised if adequate levels of electrolytes are not present, especially in the heat and/or when physical activity continues over prolonged periods of time. To replenish lost electrolytes, a person ordinarily needs only to eat a regular diet that meets energy and nutrient needs. In extreme or demanding activities, electrolyte replacements may be needed. Electrolyte Replacement Tablets - Help to Prevent Muscle Cramps and Heat Prostration due to Excessive Perspiration. Electrolyte Tablets are available in convenient two packs.
When a person sweats, small amounts of electrolytes – the electrically charged minerals sodium, potassium, chloride, and magnesium – are lost from the body along with water.
Electrolytes are chemical substances which, when dissolved or lost in sweat, are missing the electrically charged particles or ions. These ions are necessary for cellular metabolism, for intra- and extra-cellular chemical balance, and for assisting in the neuro-metabolic expenditure of caloric energy.
Basically, many normal bodily functions are dependent on these substances. As important as the fuel you consume and the water you drink during exercise is a consistent replenishment of electrolytes. Regular body functions, and performance performance, are severely compromised if adequate levels of electrolytes are not present, especially in the heat and/or when physical activity continues over prolonged periods of time.
To replenish lost electrolytes, a person ordinarily needs only to eat a regular diet that meets energy and nutrient needs. In extreme or demanding activities, electrolyte replacements may be needed.

Heat-related symptoms range from mild to life threatening and may include cramping, fatigue, nausea and/or vomiting, headaches, confusion, dizziness, fainting, sweating, hot or cold and clammy skin, skin rash, agitation or anxiety, excessive thirst, bloody stool or urine, excessively fast or slow heart rate, fever, delirium, loss of consciousness and/or convulsions.

Affected persons should be treated immediately with the appropriate first aid for heat illness. Treatments vary according to the type and severity of heat illness, but may include removing the person to a cool location, giving him or her fluids, and helping him or her cool down with the aid of fans, cool compresses and other similar measures.

What Workplace Conditions Contribute to Heat Illness?
In addition to temperature, contributing factors to heat illness include high humidity and lack of air movement. These things hinder the body’s ability to shed excess heat through evaporative cooling.

Workplace conditions that are red flags for potential heat illness include working in or near:

o Heat-generating machinery or hot pipes
o High-humidity areas
o Areas with still or stagnant air
o Areas where outside heat comes inside
o Higher level areas where heat is trapped, such as near the ceiling
o Hot materials

In addition, wearing protective gear can hinder the body’s ability to regulate heat, while working under heavy time or productivity pressure can cause workers to overexert themselves in a hot environment, putting them at greater risk for heat-related illness.

How to Prevent Heat Illness in the Workplace
Employers can minimize risk to their workers by utilizing the following checklist:

Monitor heat and humidity levels and plan an alternate routine for hot and humid conditions.
Keep workers hydrated. Make sure all employees have access to water and encourage them to take hydration breaks as needed.
Provide adequate breaks and recovery time for employees who must work in warm conditions, especially those who are wearing personal protective equipment, on medication or have a previous history of heat-related illness.
Adjust productivity expectations. Plan for a reasonable work pace that does not overtax the body in warm conditions.
Acclimatize new workers.Give new hires shorter shifts and/or more frequent breaks to allow their bodies to get used to working in the heat.
Rotate work shifts and/or locations to minimize heat exposure.
Insulate hot water pipes and heating ducts to prevent heat loss into the workspace.
Enclose or isolate hot machinery to keep your work areas cooler.
Implement safety training. Make sure all employees know how to recognize heat-related symptoms and what to do if they appear.
Provide proper ventilation and air flow. Make sure your HVAC is running properly, and add fans as necessary to create an evaporative cooling effect.

Instant Cold Compresses Chemical Cold Packs / Instant Ice Packs / Instant Cold Compresses temporarily relieve minor pain and swelling for sprains, aches and sore joints. Our Instant Chemical Cold Packs are conveniently disposable with no pre-chilling required for quick, effective relief. Be sure to note the substantial savings when purchasing in bulk quantities - from just 28¢ per pack!. New Urea Cool Packs can be expressed shipped with no Hazmat fees, too - call Toll Free for questions or information. We Manufacture our own Instant Cold packs, so the savings go straight to you - see our instant ice packs at wholesale, when you buy bulk! Check out the COOL Kids Ice packs. Also see: Ice Wrap Reusable Hot & Cold Packs Heat Packs & Warmers NEW! Hot or Cold Pack? Learn When and How to use Cold for Injuries! Where else can you buy individual and boxed cold compresses & wholesale bulk instant cold packs from 28¢? Instant Cold Compresses
Chemical Cold Packs / Instant Ice Packs / Instant Cold Compresses temporarily relieve minor pain and swelling for sprains, aches and sore joints. Our Instant Chemical Cold Packs are conveniently disposable with no pre-chilling required for quick, effective relief. Be sure to note the substantial savings when purchasing in bulk quantities - from just 28¢ per pack!. New Urea Cool Packs can be expressed shipped with no Hazmat fees, too - call Toll Free for questions or information. We Manufacture our own Instant Cold packs, so the savings go straight to you - see our instant ice packs at wholesale, when you buy bulk! Check out the COOL Kids Ice packs. Also see: Ice Wrap Reusable Hot & Cold Packs Heat Packs & Warmers NEW! Hot or Cold Pack? Learn When and How to use Cold for Injuries!
Where else can you buy individual and boxed cold compresses & wholesale bulk instant cold packs from 28¢?

Finally, if you hear complaints from your workers, take them seriously. Workers have a right to a safe workplace and may file a complaint with OSHA if they believe their employer is not adhering to heat safety standards. Adding a few fans or allowing an extra break for water is a small price to pay for keeping your employees healthy and happy, and your production line running smoothly despite the heat.

Author bio: Nikki Heinkel is Marketing Manager for Go Fan Yourself, a company that manufactures patent-pending industrial high-volume, low-speed fans for spaces in need of an energy-efficient air movement solution such as warehousing, manufacturing, and agricultural and commercial facilities.

LEARN MORE!

Extreme Heat ??

Do You Know the Signs of a Heat Stroke?

Heat Stroke First Aid Treatment

What is Heat Exhaustion?

Treating Heat Exhaustion

How do Hurricanes relate to Extreme Heat?

Leave a Reply

Back to top