Weather.com predicted back in April that the Northeast would see below average temperatures this summer. Well preliminary reports, and anyone who has been working outside, can tell you that this summer so far has been anything but below average. We had an incredibly wet, humid July with some very high temperatures.
Two on the job fatalities involving new employees are currently under investigation by OSHA. Officials are now concerned that new workers who have not had time to acclimate to their new working environment and tasks are at a higher risk of heat illness.
Knowing the heat index is critical to knowing the level of risk for outdoor work. The new smartphone app will calculate the heat index and will display the risk level. You can download the app here for iPhone and Android (not yet available for Blackberry users).
The latest recommendations are to gradually increase workload for workers who are new to working outdoors in the heat, or who have been away from working in the heat for a week or more, or at the beginning of a heat wave.
Other recommendations include (from OSHA’s Heat Page).
Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty.
Rest in the shade to cool down.
Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
Keep an eye on fellow workers.
Personal protective equipment such as respirators, masks, and hazmat suits are also major factors to consider when calculating the risk level of heat illness. Make sure you and your workers are educated on how to protect yourself from heat illness. See United Alliance Services Training Course and Seminars page for a list of safety courses, or call 877-399-1698 to discuss customizing services for your company.