The weather is heating up. Outdoor sun and indoor heat at the workplace are dangerous because they lead to health issues ranging from not feeling well to life-threatening health conditions. OSHA encourages employers to know the following symptoms associated with heat-related illnesses:
The National Weather Service lists a daily heat index to alert people of the risks related to the air temperature and the humidity. It is extremely important to monitor heat indexes in closed indoor spaces like warehouses, for example, where high humidity adds to high temperatures and increases negative effect on workers’ health. A heat index of 80°F – 89°F may cause fatigue; 90°F – 104°F may cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion; 105°F to 129°F may cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke; 130°F or higher may cause heatstroke.
Most heat-related illnesses can be prevented by keeping the body cool and avoiding dehydration.
The following simple-to-implement steps work really well:
OSHA states that controlling indoor environments through adequate airflow and ventilation is an important method of improving air temperature and quality and preventing heat-related illnesses. Areas, where there is typically not enough ventilation, include confined spaces and other indoor areas without windows, like parking garages, hangars, and warehouses. Working in environments without continuous air flow makes people extremely vulnerable to the dangers of heat. We recommend using the following indoor and outdoor ventilation equipment that eliminates the threat of developing heat-related illnesses by increasing the air flow:
The 16 inch Confined Space Fan is a flexible tool that keeps your work area safe with fresh air. You can easily ventilate large confined spaces with this blower. The powerful fan works great for extraction as well as for aeration purposes, letting you quickly expel fumes, and increase the natural air level in enclosed spaces. It is perfect for a wide range of applications: explosive/flammable petrochemical operations (oil rigs, refineries, and gas works), wastewater management, sewer access, and chemical tank maintenance.
The ECKO K20 Ventilation Blower is a rugged, economical industrial fan. Designed for confined space ventilation, the K20 comes with a chemical- and UV-resistant molded polyethylene housing, and attaches easily to the ECKO-FLEX ducting.
The lightweight RamFan UB20 is our most popular blower. The double-walled housing is molded from a UV-resistant polyethylene making it dent-resistant and corrosion-proof. It meets stringent outdoor use requirements – CSA/UL (AC model) and is extremely quiet compared to other ventilators. Add a polypropylene blade, tough nylon motor mount, and thru-bolted motor, and this unit becomes even more powerful. It is ideal for shipyards, utilities, contractors, and rescue teams.
OSHA calls ventilation one of the most important engineering controls available to maintain a safe work environment.
If you have questions about the size or the capacity of the blower that’s right for your application, give our Customer Service team a call at 800-829-9580, or visit us online: www.pksafety.com.
The smart approach to work-related heat stress prevention includes setting up a wellness program for employees at risk. This can include those who work outdoors and in hot environments, like firefighters, farmers, miners, bakery and boiler room workers, construction and factory workers, who wear PPE according to their work requirements.
Wellness programs aim to educate teams on how to pro-actively ensure their health is not affected in any way by working in the extreme conditions. It includes training on using PPE correctly, and on being aware of resources that are available, and of the preventive measures that need to be taken before going to work in the heat.
Industries most affected by heat-related illnesses are construction, agriculture, building and grounds maintenance, landscaping, transportation, utilities, and oil and gas operations. Protect your workers from potentially fatal heat stress by training them on the dangers, symptoms and appropriate response measures.
If you have questions, please feel free to call us at 800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
By Steve Rapoport, Director, Fresh2o
With the warm weather approaching, it is imperative to stay hydrated. The dog days of summer have hit with temps 100 degrees and higher! Not only is this unpleasant, it can be dangerous. Our body’s fluid requirement increases as the temperature rises and being dehydrated can have serious effects on your health. Check out my tips on how to keep yourself hydrated and learn which foods/beverages hydrate you.
Functions of fluid in the body
Our body is made up of 55 – 60% water. Water is essential for life and plays vital role in the body, including regulation of metabolism and body temperature. Every day we lose about 2 1/2 liters of water through breathing, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. And when you are outside in the heat, you lose even more. For our bodies to function properly, we need to replenish these fluid losses by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
Who is at risk for dehydration?
Everyone who goes outside in the heat is at risk of dehydration, but those people who work or exercise outdoors, children, the elderly, and anyone who has the pre-existing conditions – such as respiratory or cardiovascular related conditions, or diabetes – has a greater risk.
Symptoms of dehydration
Symptoms of dehydration range from mild to life threatening. How many times have you had a headache, a dry mouth, felt weak or haven’t urinated in hours? It’s possible that you were dehydrated. Other symptoms include constipation, dry eyes, muscle cramps, decreased sweating, and nausea. While not a symptom, dehydration can increase risk of kidney stones. More serious symptoms include mental confusion, vomiting, racing pulse, difficulty breathing, seizures, etc. At this point, medical attention is needed immediately.
How much fluid do you need a day? The recommendation used to be that we consume 64 oz of water a day. However, newer research led to updated recommendations by the Institute of Medicine:
– adequate intake for men is ~ 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day
– adequate intake for women is ~ 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.
It has also been shown that we can meet up to 25% of our fluid needs from watery foods, such as tomatoes, lettuce, watermelon and oranges.
*Keep in mind that your fluid needs will be higher if you work or exercise in the heat!
Tips to increase your fluid intake in the hot weather
*While I strongly discourage drinking soda, both regular or diet (for many reasons!), it does contain fluid and therefore will hydrate you. But try to get more of your fluid intake from water …
* But keep in mind that sports drinks and juices tend to contain large amounts of sugar – not a good thing for most of us …
* While caffeinated beverages can provide fluid, I don’t recommend consuming large amounts of caffeine (and some people shouldn’t consume any).
Be safe and drink up!
This guest post was originally published in HawsCo.com Blog by
Working in the heat, especially during Summer months, can lead to illness or even death. Common reactions are heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat cramps and heat rash — all of which can be avoided following these heat stress prevention tips from OSHA.
Some risk factors that can cause heat stress include:
You may be experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke if you have the following symptoms: headache, dizziness, fainting, weakness and wet skin, irritability or confusion, thirst, nausea, vomiting, passing out, collapse, seizures, or even if you have stopped sweating.
To prevent heat stress, make sure a heat stress prevention program is in place by your employer. Cool water should be available to workers close to the work area (at least one pint of water per hour is needed). Drinks with alcohol or caffeine should be avoided as these will dehydrate you. Work schedules should include rest periods and water breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas. New employees may need to be acclimated to the heat by gradually increasing their workloads and allowing for more frequent breaks to stay hydrated. Protective clothing that’s lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting should be worn. Consider those that provide cooling such as a vented hard hat or hats with neck shades, cooling wraps, cooling vests, and sunscreen.
If you or a fellow worker does experience heat illness, call a supervisor for help. If the supervisor is not available, call 911. Someone should stay with the worker until help arrives. If possible, move the worker to a cooler/shaded area and remove outer clothing. Fan and mist the worker with water, apply ice (ice bags or ice towels), and provide cool drinking water if the worker is able to drink. If the worker is not alert or seems confused, he or she may be experiencing heat stroke. Call 911 immediately and apply ice as soon as possible if this is the case.
Summer is right around the corner, are you adequately protected? Depending on your geographic locale, some insect borne illnesses that you may be at risk for are: Lyme disease, Heartland virus, West Nile disease, and more.There are many repellent ingredients and application types on the market. Depending on the work environment you need to use it in, there can be unique advantages and disadvantages for each of the products available. A few lesser known facts about these repellents include:
1. The well-known, longer lasting ingredients DEET and picaridin are not safe to use in flammable or arc flash risk areas such as industrial work environments because they contain flammable contaminants. DEET and picaridin also reduce the thermal protection of FR clothing.
2. A higher concentration of DEET doesn’t mean stronger. A higher concentration of DEET equates to a longer period of protection.
3. Two common non-flammable natural insect bug repellents include geranoil and Vitamin B1. Geranoil is applied as a topical while B1 may be consumed in supplement form or via a patch. Stick with natural solutions if applying to face or neck.
4. Permethrin treated clothing, such as these coveralls, offers insect repellent while staying flame resistant. It may be applied during production of a garment or afterwards by the consumer.
When you’re all finished working for the day wash your skin with soap and water, and wash treated clothing by itself before wearing again. If you develop symptoms of an insect related illness, see a doctor immediately.
PK Safety partners with you to meet OSHA regulations and stay safe all year round, see all of the repellents that we offer here. Work hard and stay safe!
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is seldom comfortable. Typically workers would rather not be bothered. That’s one reason OSHA mandates compliance for certain workers. At height workers require not only fall protection, but many need head protection as well. Traditional hard hats can feel like having an oven on your head. Especially while working in the heat and sun.
Luckily there is the Vertex Vent from Petzl. The Petzl Vent helmet, as the name suggests, features adjustable openings on either side to control the amount of air let in, and heat let out. By allowing heat to escape, this is an OSHA-compliant piece of PPE that hasn’t forgotten that it needs to be comfortable all day long. For workers carrying loads, or working under other workers where items could be dropped, a helmet with a sturdy chin strap is an important part of the safety program.
Comfort is key for workers who have demanding work at height. The Vertex Vent weighs only 12 oz. and the chin strap is extremely sturdy. Often what happens in the field is a fall will dislodge the hard hat from a worker who doesn’t have it strapped on. It might hang in there for the first bang, but often tumbles away, no use to anyone, for the second (third? fourth?) impact.
For workers who are serious about their equipment, the Petzl Vent is an excellent all-weather choice for head protection. If work requires night or early morning hours, the Petzl Vent comes standard with a spot to click in a Petzl Pixa Headlamp. That light, combined with an ultra-comfortable fit and chin strap will keep whatever you are facing illuminated without your needing to try to rig a light or attach an elastic band and headlamp to a rounded helmet.
Day or night, summer or winter, the Petzl Vertex Vent helmet literally has you covered. Because of the vents, this helmet is not rated for molten metal or chemical splash, but for just about everything else, it’s an ideal form of PPE for your noggin.
If you have questions about OSHA-required PPE, we are what is known as “experts.” Please feel free to contact us online at www.pksafety.com or give us a call at 800-829-9580 Monday through Friday, 7am – 5pm PST. As always, thanks for reading!
Spring has sprung in about two-thirds of the contiguous United States at this point. And while North Dakota and Montana are both shoveling snow and dreaming about a 45-degree day, in the southern states it’s time to stock up and start using sunblock.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent skin cancer is to prevent sunburn. The best way to prevent sunburn is to stay indoors or possibly underground. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for the millions of construction workers, site maintenance workers, tower climbers, and others whose work requires them to be out in the elements in all types of weather. And while it’s important to use skin protection any time the sun is shining, it’s especially important during these early days of sun to avoid sunburns. The best way to do that is by using high-quality sunscreen and lip balm that protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
Smart companies are setting up skin wellness programs for their employees who work outdoors. Whether that involves installing sunscreen dispenser units in convenient locations or filling their workers’ pockets or the cab of their trucks with sunscreen pouches, the most important thing is to find a way to encourage using the products provided.
Workers in a wide range of outdoor jobs have successfully avoided sunburns over the years with SunX products from Coretex. The SunX towelettes provide enough sunscreen to cover the arms, face, and legs of one worker. The low per-packet cost makes the towelettes affordable to employers while the portability makes them a favorite with workers because they can be kept in a back pocket or toolbox until they are needed.
If you are fortunate enough to be working outside in an area that already has abundant sunshine, be smart and protect your skin and your long-term health with quality sunscreen products from the skin wellness professionals at Coretex.
Regular readers of this blog may recognize the photo from a post on a similar topic about a year ago. Normally I wouldn’t use the same photo more than once, but this is my all-time-favorite. Thanks for reading.