Having a workplace safety program in place is critical throughout the whole year. However, with June being National Safety Month, now is a good time to evaluate yours and make any updates, especially ahead of summer. In fact, according to the EPA, there are more than 1,300 deaths annually due to extreme heat in the US.
To help protect your people, here are some tips to keep them cool and comfortable as temperatures heat up:
The first step in the process should be to identify any new hazards. This will help you assess related risk factors and take proper measures to keep your staff safe. Whether it’s direct exposure to heat and sunlight for long hours or high indoor temperatures and humidity, know where there are potential problems and how to fix them.
For employees who are mainly working indoors, make sure the AC temperature is kept at a comfortable setting. If your workers are outside, provide an area where they can take breaks in the shade. If you can, install portable fans or even create an air-conditioned spot where they can take their breaks.
One key component to keeping your workers safe is making sure they are properly hydrated. To do this, offer hydration stations where water is available to them. This can include individual water bottles or water coolers with disposable cups. It should be easily accessible and your staff should be encouraged to take water breaks regularly.
Exposure to the heat in the afternoon can be especially exhausting. Try to schedule work hours so employees are coming in early in the morning and able to leave mid-afternoon, such as a 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. shift. If that’s not feasible, schedule more demanding or strenuous work as early as possible in the morning.
Make sure your employees know the measures they should be taking to avoid heat-related issues. The three most common conditions are:
With summer almost here, now’s the time to update your safety plan and retrain your people about the measures they should be taking. This will keep them cool when temperatures soar, while giving you peace of mind.
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