As summer approaches and the temperature increases, workplace heat illness often becomes a concern for outdoor workers. Every year, thousands of outside workers become sick and even die from heat exposure (OSHA). Taking the right safety measures will prevent heat illness deaths. This blog will discuss what heat illness is, industries that are most at risk, and 5 ways to avoid heat illness.

What is Heat Illness?

Heat illness includes heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. While it can happen to anyone, it often happens to employees that work outside in high heat or exposed to prolonged, direct sun exposure. Seek medical attention immediately if an employee or co-worker starts to feel weak, nauseated, or has excessive thirst – as these are all signs of heat exposure.

Worker with bottle of water helping colleague on city street. Suffering from heat stroke

What Industries Are Risk for Heat Exposure?

Those working in agriculture or construction industries are not the only ones at risk for heat illness. Any employee that works outside at any point of their day is at risk for heat-related illness exposure. Some other industries include:

  • Landscaping
  • Oil & Gas Extraction
  • Manufacturing
  • Even public agency employees!

On March 22, 2024 CalOSHA implemented a Heat Illness Prevention Plan requirement for indoor work areas where the temperature is 82°F or higher when employees are present.

How to Avoid Heat Exposure

  1. Heat Illness Training: Supervisors and workers should be trained to control & recognize heat hazards
  2. Drink Plenty of Water: Outside workers should make sure to drink plenty of water throughout their shift, drinking about 4 cups of water every hour. Workers should not wait until they’re thirsty to drink
  3. Frequent breaks/shade: Employees should take a break in the shade if he or she is experiencing signs & symptoms of heat illness. Taking frequent breaks and resting in the shade or in the air conditioning will help the body to recover
  4. Use a Buddy System: Pair employees with a coworker to help monitor signs and symptoms of heat illness
  5. Personal Protective Equipment: Wear light-colored clothing, a hat, and apply sunscreen

Heat Illness Prevention Training

CCR Title 8 Section 3395, adopted on June 15, 2005, in conjunction with CCR Title 8 Section 3203, requires all employers having employees exposed to hot work environments or environments that may expose employees to heat illness concerns, indoor or outdoor, to train per the following elements. Here are some topics of our heat illness prevention program will include, at a minimum:

  • Environmental and personal risk factors
  • Employer’s heat illness prevention plan and procedures
  • Types of heat illness and the signs and symptoms
  • Necessity of immediately reporting to an employer any signs or symptoms

You can learn more about our heat illness training class.

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