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5 Ways to Protect Employees from Heat this Summer

As the temperature increases, it is essential to emphasize heat illness prevention to all workers. Each year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in hot or humid conditions. Nearly three out of four heat illness fatalities occur during the first week of work. It is important for all workers to build a tolerance to the heat. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, works to educate employers and workers on the ways in which extreme heat can lead to dangerous conditions. OSHA recommends a few practices that decreases illness due to heat exposure in the workplace.

Follow the 20% Rule.

On an employee's first day of work, be sure that they work no more than 20% of a shift at full intensity in the heat. Each following day, increase the time by no more than 20% per day. This process will help employees acclimate better to the climate and build a strong tolerance to heat.

Provide cool drinking water.

Even if they do not feel thirsty, workers should drink at least one cup of cool water every twenty minutes.

Allow ample time for rest breaks.

Workers should be provided time where they can recover from the heat. Cool or shady locations offer space to rest before continuing work.

Dress for the heat.

When working in a warm environment, it is best to wear a hat and light-colored clothing. Loose-fitting and breathable attire keeps the body cool.

Offer training.

Educating workers on the hazards of heat exposure allows them to be better prepared. When one knows the signs and symptoms of heat illness, they can better prevent sickness.

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