This week is Safe + Sound Week, a nationwide event held each August and sponsored by the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) to recognize the successes of workplace health and safety programs. Its aim is to offer information and ideas on how to keep America’s workers safe. Portacool encourages businesses across the country to join in participating, as proactively identifying workplace hazards is key to keeping the workforce safe.
Given that most heat-related health problems can be prevented, or at least the risk of developing them can be reduced, taking a proactive approach gives two-fold benefits. You will effectively ensure worker safety and in-turn, productivity. Both will positively benefit the company’s bottom dollar.
Prevention – preventative tips from Portacool for jobsite and beyond
Acclimating workers is a necessary process even if it seems counterintuitive to generating productivity (e.g., a reduced work shift during excessive heat). An effective heat acclimatization program gradually increases an unacclimated worker’s exposure to heat over a 7- to 14-day period.
Make sure to have plenty of fluids on hand. Workers need plenty of water throughout the day (approximately every 15 minutes) in hot conditions and shouldn’t wait until they feel thirsty.
Schedule rest breaks to help your body recover. OSHA advises workers to rest in the shade or in air-conditioning when possible to help cool down. Utilize or add cooling stations on worksites when possible with tools such as a portable evaporative cooler. Many work on standard 110-V electricity supply.
Stay aware of conditions with your phone or tablet, especially if working outdoors. Working in full sunlight can increase heat index* values by 15°F. OSHA has an app (download info here) to help calculate the heat index for the worksite and helps to identify the risk level.
Be sure workers are informed by reviewing the heat illness signs and symptoms. Training is this area is worthwhile.
Use a buddy system. Encourage workers to monitor each other for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.
*For more information about safety while working in the heat, see OSHA’sheat illness webpage and online guidance page for employers that outlines how to use the heat index to protect workers.
For more information or to submit questions relative to spot-cooling solutions for keeping workers cool, send your email to email@example.com.