Are Your Employees Safe While Working In Hot Weather?

Words: Patrick Cunningham
As the temperatures rise outside during summer months, so do the risks that employees working in hot conditions may be harmed by the dangerous effects it can have. Exposure to high temperatures can be deadly. It’s your responsibility as a business owner to help monitor and minimize the risk of heat stress for your workers.

Monitor the Heat Index
The heat index combines air temperature and humidity to determine how hot it feels outside:
  • 80-90°F: Caution needed for prolonged moderate work outdoors.
  • 91-103°F: Use extreme caution, reduce outdoor work, take extra breaks, and monitor workers closely.
  • 103-124°F: Danger for prolonged exposure. Halt outdoor work (except emergencies) to prevent heat illness.
  • 126°F or higher: Extreme danger, avoid outdoor work. High humidity above 60% affects sweat evaporation, impacting the body's cooling ability (1).
Keeping Your Employees Safe

Mechanical contractor business owners should consider monitoring daily heat index readings and adjusting work schedules and demands accordingly to prevent heat illness. Risk management tactics may help, including:
  • Appropriate Attire: Providing lightweight, breathable clothing or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for comfort and safety.
  • Preventative Measures: Offering regular rest breaks, shade, water, and adjusted schedules to minimize heat-related risks.
  • Adjusting Workloads: Considering rescheduling highly labor-intensive tasks to cooler parts of the day if possible.
  • Acclimatization: Allowing new and returning workers to gradually increase exposure time for working in the heat.
  • Additional Workers: Bringing on extra workers for labor-intensive projects to allow for more frequent breaks.
  • Heat Illness Recognition: Educating workers on symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, excessive sweating, elevated body temperature, and red/hot/dry skin.
  • Medical Attention: Encouraging workers experiencing symptoms to stop work and seek medical help immediately (1).

Reach out to your local Federated® marketing representative to learn more about working in heat and other risk management topics to help keep your business and employees safe.

1.) OSHA. https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHA4185.pdf. Exposure to Outdoor and Heat-Related Hazards. Accessed 5/17/24


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