The two safety organizations also encouraged employers to tell their workers about the app and ask them to use it. In most instances, workers wait for their employers to tell them when to take breaks. The app alerts workers to stop, find shade and drink water when the heat index is too high. There are also precaution tips for workers to stay safer on work sites. The app uses a worker's geolocation based on phone data, and weather information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association is continually pulled to provide real-time updates about heat risk levels and heat index. Employers should adjust working conditions or hours as needed using this information to keep their workers safe.
Dangers Of Extreme Heat
Extreme heat is the leading weather-related hazard for causing workplace deaths. More than 65,000 people are treated for heat-related injuries each year. In 2014, over 2,500 people suffered from heat-related illnesses while at work. Nearly 20 people died on the job from heat stroke or being exposed to extreme heat for too long. When workers are overheated, they are less productive. The exhaustion associated with being overheated also means more safety risks. Employees are more likely to make dangerous mistakes that could injure themselves or other workers. Fogged safety goggles, sweaty hands and confusion are three common consequences of being overheated, and they are common contributors to serious accidents. Employees who are just starting to work in the heat are most vulnerable. Many heat-related injuries happen to people during their first few days or weeks on the job.
How To Stay Safe In Hot Weather
Employers should plan scheduled breaks and provide water for their employees who work in the heat. They should adjust schedules as necessary and invest in safety gear that is designed for warmer temperatures. These are some additional tips:
- Provide a cool and shady environment for frequent breaks.
- Assign several workers to one task.
- Teach workers and supervisors about heat stroke, heat stress and similar conditions.
- Provide first aid training to workers.
- Assign workers in pairs to watch each other for signs of heat intolerance.
- Encourage workers to stay hydrated.
- When temperatures are predicted to be high, use a heat alert program.
- Encourage physical fitness, and use a program to acclimatize workers to the heat.
Employers who are proactive about promoting safety in the heat can reduce their risk of paying for more worker's compensation claims and medical bills. To learn more about optimizing workplace safety, speak to an agent 314-351-HALO(4256).