As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your employees cool on the job. Excessive heat either indoors or out can lead to a range of physical and mental symptoms. If your staff needs to work long hours in the blazing sun or a steamy warehouse, you need to provide the proper equipment to make sure they stay cool and comfortable on the job. Learn more about common heat-related illnesses and what you can do to keep your employees out of harm’s way.
The Dangers of Heat Exhaustion
The human body can only withstand so much heat. The body copes with excessive temperatures by producing sweat, but this may not be enough to keep heat-related illnesses at bay, such as heat cramps, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion. The effects of these illnesses can be temporary, but in some extreme cases, they may even lead to death.
Signs of heat exhaustion include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Heavy sweating
- Excessive Thirst
- Muscle cramps
- Heat rash
If someone on your team exhibits some of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately and move them to a cooler environment as soon as possible. Help the person cool down by offering them water, loosen their clothing, turn on a fan, or wet their skin with cool water or an ice pack.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, there are no specific OSHA standards for heat exposure, but under the law, employers are “required to provide their employees with a place of employment that is free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.” This includes heat-related illnesses like heat stroke and exhaustion. If you put your employees in harm’s way by exposing them to excessive heat without the proper equipment, you could face hefty fines, a lawsuit, or damage your company’s reputation.
How to Protect Yourself from Excessive Heat
The good news is that heat-related illnesses and injuries are preventable. In terms of workplace safety, if your employees need to work inside or outside in the heat for long periods of time, you need to provide equipment that’s designed to keep your employees cool.
Keep your employees cool with a brimmed hard hat from PK Safety. The brim keeps the sun out of their eyes and face if they’re working outdoors. It also comes with an adjustable ratchet system, so your employees can loosen the hat if it gets too tight or they need more room to breathe. Use the JSP Evolution Deluxe 6161 Full Brim Hard Hat in extreme working conditions. If your employees don’t need a hard hat, you can also use the brimmed PIP EZ-Cool Ranger Hat with a Neck Shade. It’s made with a lightweight poly-cotton material that keeps the sun off their face and neck.
Use PIP Bouton Anser Safety Glasses to keep the sunlight out of your employees’ eyes. They feature 99.99% UVA UVB light absorption, so your employees can see clearly when working outdoors.
If your employees are exposed to direct sunlight for hours on end, you also have to worry about protecting your employees from sunburn and skin cancer. Instead of passing around a bottle of sunscreen, hand out Cortex SunX Sunscreen packets, so your employees can easily reapply sunscreen throughout the day.
Excessive perspiration can be an issue when your employees are hard at work. Keep excessive moisture at bay with the PIP EZ-Cool Cooling Towel. Have your employees use it around the neck, face and other pressure points to keep them cool and dry during a long shift.
Keep cold water on hand and don’t forget to give your employees plenty of breaks when they’re doing strenuous labor in heated areas. Provide a shaded area for them to get out of the sun and be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion.
Don’t be a hot head.
Protect your employees from heat-related illnesses. Contact the workplace safety professionals at PK Safety for a range of heat and sun protection products and equipment.