When temperature soar, the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urges employers to take these precautions to minimize the risk of heat stress:
- Provide plenty of drinking water—as much as a quart per worker per hour—to help reduce the risk of heat disorders;
- Use general ventilation and good spot cooling at points of high heat production;
- Train first-aid workers to recognize and treat the signs of heat stress, which can be fatal;
- Consider a worker’s physical condition when determining fitness to work in hot environments;
- Acclimate workers to the heat through short exposures followed by longer periods of work. New employees and workers returning from an absence of two weeks or more should have five-day period of acclimatization. Start with half the normal workload and time exposure the first day and gradually build up to 100 percent;
- Alternate work and rest periods, with longer rest periods in a cooler area;
- Consider that certain medical conditions, medical treatments, and medications increase the risk from heat exposure; and
- Monitor temperatures, humidity, and workers’ responses to heat at least hourly.
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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion.