According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, 11 workers are seriously injured or die from heat stress in the United States every day. The average cost per heat prostration incident is more than $53,000. And, most importantly, heat illness is 100% preventable. To help prevent heat illness, Magid Glove & Safety provides the following heat safety tips.
1. Hydrate before and during work
Providing cool water or electrolyte-replacing beverages that are close to the jobsite is essential in getting workers to frequently rehydrate. Workers should make sure to drink plenty of fluids during work and make sure to pre-hydrate before work. Workers should also stay away from drinks loaded with caffeine or sugar, which can lead to dehydration. Consider electrolyte-replacing beverages because they can help replenish any lost salts or minerals after spending time in the heat.
2. Pay attention to heat safety education and monitor yourself and others
Watch for signs of heat illness, and keep an eye on coworkers, too. Heat safety education can teach workers the basics of how to stay safe before they even step foot on the jobsite. Consider showing workers training presentations and place safety reminder posters around your workplace. Important heat safety facts you’ll want your workers to remember are the signs of heat illness and what to do if someone is experiencing heat stress. Signs of heat illness can include heavy sweating, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, a quickened pulse, and shifts in body temperature.
3. Wear lightweight and breathable PPE
Lightweight PPE will protect workers from injuries and also help them stay cool. Cooling gear is a great option that is portable, lightweight, and can lower skin temperature when workers are far away from refrigerators or air conditioning.
4. Work when it’s cooler and take breaks in the shade
Make sure you have a place where workers can rest and escape the heat. The environment should be cool, and cold towels and rehydration beverages should be available. Shady areas, cooling tents, ventilated bathroom trailers, or air-conditioned lunchrooms are all great options.
Magid Glove & Safety has been keeping workers safe since 1946 and is also a founding member of the National Heat Safety Coalition (NHSC). Magid also offers a free Heat Safety Toolkit at https://www.magidglove.com/safety-matters/.