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June 06, 2016
Are your employees ready for the heat?

Your summer checklist might include signing the kids up for swimming lessons and making reservations for a beach getaway. But if your employees work outside, preparations should also include readying them for exposure to the heat. Get important reminders here.

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Whether you consider the start of summer Memorial Day or June 21, take steps now to prevent the harmful effects of excessive heat. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workers may experience longer or more intense heat exposures and are more likely to engage in strenuous physical activity in the heat than the general public. Workers often rely on their employers to limit their time in the heat by ensuring adequate rest breaks and promoting hydration.

NIOSH recommends the following work practices to control heat stress:

  • Limit time in the heat, increase recovery time spent in a cool environment, or both.
  • Reduce the physical demands of the job by using tools designed to minimize strain or increasing the number of workers per task.
  • Train supervisors and workers to recognize early signs and symptoms of heat-related illness and to administer first aid.
  • Implement a buddy system where workers observe each other for early signs and symptoms of heat intolerance.
  • Provide adequate cool, potable water near the work area, and encourage workers to drink, with fluid intake generally not exceeding 6 cups per hour.
  • Implement a heat alert program.
  • Institute a heat acclimatization plan to gradually increase time in hot conditions over 7 to 14 days.
  • Learn more at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress.
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