Construction Companies Need Extreme Heat Protection Plans
When a person is overheated, they rely on their body’s ability to lose excess Heat. For construction workers, they cool down more quickly if they reduce physical activity and Heat.
Every construction company needs a heat management plan for its employees. Millions of employees are exposed to Heat and thousands become sick. Some cases are even fatal.
Since the body builds a tolerance to Heat over time, 70% of heat-related incidents typically occur within the first few days of working in a hot environment. Lack of acclamation is a risk factor.
Of heat-related illnesses, heatstroke is the most severe. It causes mental dysfunction, including slurred speech, unconsciousness, confusion, or disorientation. Some workers are more susceptible than others.
Management needs to prevent heat-related illness for all employees. Start by providing individualized aid based on their heart rate, body weight and body temperature.
Risk factors for construction workers include warm or hot environmental conditions, heavy physical exertion, wearing clothes that hold body heat and lack of acclamation.
Create a plan to protect your crew from developing any heat-related illnesses.
Heat Illness Prevention Plan
Temporary workers may require more supervision since it takes a while to develop heat tolerance gradually.
Also, workers who have been on extended leave may be at increased risk.
Weather conditions, including Heat, can change rapidly. Therefore, management must be committed to monitoring conditions and implementing the heat plan throughout the workday.
A foreperson, safety director, plant manager, or another properly trained person can take charge of this program.
Proper training includes:
· Knowing how to activate emergency medical services when needed
· Administering first aid for heat-related illness
· Recognizing early symptoms of heat stress
The person in charge of the heat plan should be on-site, allowing for accurate heat stress determination.
That individual must be fully trained to contact and report any adverse heat conditions to the employer. In addition, they need to be able to recognize symptoms of heat-related illness. And they should use the best available methods for remote estimating.
Using an on-site web bulb globe thermometer is the best way to measure environmental heat impact on body temperature. It incorporates air movement, humidity, sunlight and temperature into one single measurement.
Prevent Heat Illness
Construction workers do not have to become ill from the Heat. With a good management commitment and effective controls, it can be prevented.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that workers pace themselves when working in extreme Heat. Start slowly, then pick up the pace gradually.
If workers feel their heart pounding or are gasping for breath, they should stop work and seek help immediately.
Offer sunscreen to employees that say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB” protection on the label. They work best.
Employees should also stay hydrated at all times. Offer water or a sports drink to employees so they can drink plenty of fluids while working in the Heat and replace salt and minerals lost by sweat.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers a technical manual in its Campaign to Keep Workers Safe in the Heat, which provides technical information on assessing heat hazards. OSHA also recently updated its Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs. The updates reflect changes in the economy, workplaces and evolving health and safety issues.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.