While the daily high temperatures on May 31 were below normal in most parts of the country this year, it was nonetheless recognized as the National Heat Awareness Day and for good measure. As Memorial Day Weekend is celebrated as the official start of summer for many, it also represents a time where there is an increased risk for workers who routinely perform their duties outdoors. Best practices for protecting your workers from heat related illness, as outlined by OSHA, include:
- Workers should drink small amounts of water frequently, about one cup every 15-20 minutes.
- Workers should eat regular meals or snacks in order to consume enough salt and electrolytes to offset those lost through sweating.
- Employers should assign employees to a buddy system, where routine checks are made hourly.
- Employers should note that drinking extreme amounts of water can be harmful (more than 48 cups of water in a 24-hour period). If high amounts are routinely needed, employers may need to consider a more comprehensive heat illness prevention program.
For a more complete guide on avoiding and recognizing heat related illness, download the OSHA NIOSH infosheet.