By Derick Plowden, Editor, J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.
In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 40 deaths due to environmental heat-related exposure in the workplace. In addition, OSHA says workers suffer over 3,500 heat-related injuries and illnesses each year.
Heat stress is no joke, and millions of workers are exposed to hot environments in the workplace. It’s no secret that the summer heat is a big threat. That’s why in April 2022, OSHA announced its first ever National Emphasis Program to protect workers from indoor and outdoor heat hazards. The agency will be proactively inspecting workplaces for heat-related hazards across a broad range of industries.
Ripped from the headlines
An employer faces almost $25,000 in proposed penalties after a worker clearing brush in 97-degree heat died on the job. OSHA says the employer failed to:
Furnish a workplace free from recognized, serious hazards such as high ambient heat; and
Have a hospital/clinic in near proximity or adequately train someone to render first aid, per 1910.151(b).
If you’re on the ball and staying on top of your heat program, there’s nothing to worry about. OSHA knows that many employers are doing their best to keep employees safe on the job. However, if you’re part of the select few that haven’t yet set up a heat program in your workplace, don’t wait to do it.
Starting a heat program isn’t rocket science, you just need a little bit of background knowledge. Common elements found in a heat program:
Training: Information you give your employees about the hazards of working in the heat.
Engineering controls: Barriers that shield your employees from the heat or sun (e.g., umbrellas, tents, or reflective shields).
Administrative controls: How you schedule your employees, including the amount of time they spend in the heat or sun, and time they spend on break.
Engineering and administrative controls are extremely important to include in your program. But some of the most satisfying solutions don’t just come from putting up barriers, scheduling time away, or providing unlimited amounts of water (although we still highly recommend you do all of those things).
PPE can be just as effective in a pinch and provides the relief your employees are looking for, all while keeping them stylish! See how below.
Cooling bandanas. There’s always a refreshing feeling you get when you sip on ice-cold water on a hot summer day. Cooling bandanas can provide the same relief to employees! Simply soak the bandana in ice-cold water, and have employees wrap it nice and snug around their noggins for relief. Trust us, a cooling bandana feels like heaven on earth when things heat up!
Cooling towels. Towels can provide similar relief as headbands, but target the neck and upper chest. In fact, they can even be used to cool down employees’ arms and legs. Simply soak the towels in ice-cold water and have employees wrap the towels around their necks or press the towels to their faces.
In either case, you can’t go wrong. Cooling devices are the most popular types of PPE used on the market today and keep employees refreshed. Including them in your heat program is the coolest decision you’ll make, giving you peace of mind for many summers to come!
REQUEST A FREE SAMPLE OF THE J. J. KELLER™ SAFEGEAR™ COOLING BANDANA
Water-activated and reusable, the J. J. Keller™ SAFEGEAR™ Cooling Bandana can help you combat dangerous heat stress.