Temperature variations that bring us all four seasons go from one extreme to the other, in what seems to be the blink of an eye. While the environment around us may be able to endure these drastic swings without consequence, the human body is very different. Maintaining a narrow range of deviation the human body core temperature averages a constant 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. As the mercury rises our body’s ability to regulate gets more difficult. The heart beings to pump faster, breathing and sweating increase. If the body can’t keep up with the changes that are happening around it, it begins to exhibit signs of heat cramps, exhaustion, or even stroke.
In 2011, 61 workers died from heat illness and 4,420 additional workers became ill.
Heat Stress is influenced by several risk factors including climate conditions, the work environment, demands of the work, PPE and equipment, clothing and personal characteristics.
While there currently is no specific OSHA standard for heat stress employers are required under the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act to protect workers from recognized serious hazards. OSHA has cited and fined employers who expose workers to excessive heat.
Further highlighting the importance of keeping workers properly hydrated and taken care of during this summer season OSHA’s heat stress campaign provides many valuable resources for both educational and training purposes to make sure your workforce stays safe.