Heat illness training is a key component of workplace safety, especially for companies that have staff that works predominantly outdoors. OSHA’s illness prevention campaign requires employers to provide a working environment safe from hazards; including the prevention of illnesses related to high temperatures.
What Is Heat Illness?
Heat illness is a serious medical condition caused by high outdoor temperatures. This may happen when workers are working in the heat without taking additional breaks to seek water and shade. There are multiple types of heat illnesses employees may experience at work, these include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat stress, and heat cramps. Symptoms to look for are:
- High fever
- Heavy sweating
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms at work please report them to your supervisors immediately so they can call for help.
Why Should Employers Conduct Heat Illness Prevention Training For Employees who work in the heat?
In California, an employer who has workers working outdoors in hot temperatures must be trained in preventing heat illness along with a written heat illness plan. Heat Illness Prevention training brings awareness to signs and symptoms that workers may have exposure to during the course of their position. Requirements for heat illness prevention training include:
- Access to Water
- Access to Shade
- Weather Monitoring and Acclimatization
- High Heat Procedures
- Employee and Supervisory Training
- Written Procedures Including Emergency Response
- Heat Illnesses, Symptoms & First Aid
Which Heat Illness Is Life Threatening?
If a worker is not provided with adequate treatment, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke which in turn can be life-threatening. In order to avoid life-threatening situations at work, managers should keep an eye on workers and ensure they are taking care of themselves while working in the heat, and train employees on exposure.
Which Is The Least Severe Form Of Heat Illness?
Heat cramps are the least severe form of heat illness for a worker’s health. Although, workers and supervisors should still be taking steps to reduce any kind of illnesses.
What Safety Measures Should be Taken to Prevent Heat Illness?
Employers can help workers prevent heat illness at work by providing areas with shade, providing cool water, and allowing workers to take additional breaks to rest. Training workers in heat exposure and what illnesses it may cause can also help workers take the preventative steps they need to be safe while working outdoors.
Workers should also be monitoring their own body temperature and keeping an eye on their health at work.
Bizhaven provides Heat Illness Prevention training for workers in both English and Spanish. If you have questions regarding your employee’s safety or want to sign your workers up for training, please reach out to your Bizhaven Safety Business Partner.
Also, look at our post about Heat Illness Prevention Plans