Keeping Employees Safe By Keeping Them CoolPosted: September 14, 2011
During the summer months, you might find it hard to step outside without breaking a sweat. Employers need to take the necessary steps to make sure that their employees are protected from this heat and heat-related illnesses.
Outdoor heat is obviously not controllable, but you can take steps to make sure that employees are safe and comfortable indoors during hot weather conditions. Though more than 30 workers in the United States died from heat-related illnesses last year, many employers forget about the hot weather impact on indoor employees.
Employers should know that heat-related illnesses are not only health issues, but workers’ compensation issues as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extreme heat adds unnecessary and damaging stress to an employee’s body. This often results in heat cramps or exhaustion that can lead to further injury at work.
In order to avoid employee injury and having to navigate workers compensation claims, employers should make every effort to keep their employees cool.
How To Keep Cool
Many heat-related illnesses can be prevented by proper monitoring and maintenance of indoor air quality. As outdoor temperatures rise, more and more air conditioning units break down. In many cases, air conditioning issues cannot be fixed quickly due to a high number of maintenance calls to repairmen. Therefore, it is necessary that employers make sure that air conditioning systems and units are of high quality and regularly checked for problems in advance of summer to avoid employee discomfort and health issues.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, encourages businesses to take other measures to keep employees safe in extreme heat. These suggestions include:
- Drinking water often
- Dressing appropriately for the weather
- Taking regular breaks
- Limiting exposure to outdoor heat
Keeping indoor employees cool during periods of extreme heat is an issue that presents concerns for many employers. It is important to remember that indoor conditions can be controlled and heat-related illnesses can be prevented.