How You Can Protect Your Workers From Heat Stress

worker suffers from heat exhaustion

Many occupations and roles can expose workers to different levels of heat stress.

Most jobs in construction, agriculture, and building care – among others – expose employees to heat stress the most.

It is the duty of employers to protect their workers from heat stress. The best way to ensure better working conditions for your employees is with a set of correct practices with regard to heat stress prevention, awareness and treatment.

How Can Heat Stress Affect Your Employees?

If a worker is under the daytime sun and heat (and humidity in Ontario!) for too long, they may suffer from:

  • Nausea
  • worker suffers from heat exhaustionHeadaches
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Pale and moist skin
  • Loss of concentration
  • Skin irritation
  • Poor visibility

It is important to provide protection for your employees against heat stress. With proper heat stress prevention and protection in place, your workers will be able to avoid most of these issues.

How to Protect Your Employees from Heat Stress

Schedule tasks/breaks at appropriate times

worker suffers from heat exhaustionSummer heat usually gets intense around noon and in the working hours of the afternoon; the mid-morning onward can also get hot in some summer days. If your team has to complete a less strenuous task, schedule it within 10:30am – 4:00pm (the peak heat hours).

Other, more physically challenging tasks should be completed in the morning hours or before the close of work. With the right schedule, your team will avoid being under scorching afternoon heat and effectively complete their tasks. Besides scheduling tasks, periodic breaks are necessary in hot conditions.

Employers should encourage frequent rest and water breaks when a worksite is too hot. Make sure your workers get a lot of water to drink when they work under the heat. Also, make an air-conditioned location available for workers to take short rests between tasks.

Ensure proper clothing

Workers that need to work under the sun’s scorching heat should avoid thick clothing if possible.

If any task doesn’t require extensive body protection, loose-fitting and light clothing should be encouraged.

Also, employers should provide sunscreen for workers with an SPF rating not less than 30. UV-rated sunglasses and broad brim hats should be used for workers in the heat.

Set up shade

worker suffers from heat exhaustionEmployers should provide shade for workers that need to work in the heat if possible.

Also, employers can take advantage of nearby structures to provide shade for employees.

Encourage workers to take their breaks in the shade rather than in the sun, whenever possible.

Use a gradual approach to increase workload

When workers need to be under the heat for long, employees need to balance their workload to heat exposure ratio.

Employees new to working under the heat should get less hours outdoors. Employers can increase the exposure of such employees by 20% every day.

If you need a team of experts to plan heat stress management for your business, trust Advanced Consulting & Training (ACT).

Advanced Consulting & Training – Professional Solutions for Workplace Heat Stress Prevention

At Advanced Consulting and Training, we provide workplace health and safety solutions to put businesses on track for success.

With our expert suggestions and training, you can maximize employee potential, even in hot conditions.

Talk to us today and get your team adequate protection against heat stress in the workplace.

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