This week there was an article on Cal-OSHA and their struggles to protect farm workers from rising summer temperatures.
Summer has started to bring some very warm temperatures, so I thought it would good to post some resources for summer safety and prevention of heat related illnesses.
The first step is to better understand heat related illnesses.
Here is the NIOSH Fast Facts on Heat Illnesses
The next step is to know the trigger points for when to take precautions when the temperatures are high.
Here is the OSHA complete guide to heat stress.
Here is a nice pocket guide from the Army in regards to work rest & fluid intake.
Here is the full OSHA technical manual on heat stress
Some of the more interesting literature for hydration and heat stress is in regards to urine color. Sqwincher (the industrial version of Gatorade) has a publication to detail urine color and how that relates to hydration. The typical “bathroom” humor around posting this chart goes something like this, “Hey SafetyDude, should we laminate these and put them on retractable lanyards near the urinals? *chuckle chuckle laugh laugh*” I just wanted to give you a proper warning if you choose to post the chart. 🙂 The good news is that they do grab people’s attention and bring awareness to the situation.
The Sqwincher Chart is linked here
A conversation about heat stress is not complete without evaluating other risks from sun exposure such as burns and the potential for skin cancer.
Here is a good resource about sunscreen.
Heat related illnesses at home and work are preventable. It takes planning and preparation to assure that there are protective measures, time and places to rest, and lots of fluids available. Too many times someone thinks that taking a break makes them seem weak or unable to perform a job. The truth is that high temperatures and improper protective measures can lead to serious injuries and even death.
One of the challenges in the summer (at least for my family) is keeping the kids protected. My kids are young and definitely summer children. They love playing in the warm sun, and they hate wearing much clothing. They are most comfortable in just their bathing suits. This means that my wife and I have to go on the offensive. We are constantly reapplying sunscreen, pulling them into the shade, keeping water bottles filled up, making them drink from said water bottles, putting hats on their heads, and trying to keep sunglasses on their faces. It’s tough! It is important to keep them protected from the hazard they don’t yet fully understand.