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High Temperatures and Employee Safety

Temperatures remain high for a second week now. Don’t forget to think about the impact that may have on your employees as they try to stay cool and productive.

With temperatures in the area expected to break into the one-hundred-degree range this week, the threat of heat stress in the workplace will be very high. It’s also important to remember that “Other heat stress factors are also very important. In addition to temperature, increased relative humidity, decreased air movement, or lack of shading from direct heat (radiant temperature) can all affect the potential for heat stress.”

According to Iowa State Universities Environmental Health and Safety program “the signs of heat stress can often be overlooked by the victim”.

Being aware of the signs is important for everyone on your team to know. “The individual may at first be confused or unable to concentrate, followed by more severe symptoms, such as fainting and/or collapsing. If heat stress symptoms occur, move the victim to a cool, shaded area, give him or her water, and immediately contact a supervisor or another individual to provide assistance.”

Some Tips from Iowa State for safe practices:

  • Adjust the work schedule, if possible. Assign heavier work on cooler days or during the cooler part of the day.
  • Reduce the workload. Increase the use of equipment on hot days to reduce physical labor.
  • Establish a schedule for work and rest periods during hot days.
  • Train workers to recognize signs and symptoms of heat stress disorders and be prepared to give first aid if necessary.

Having a plan of action to help reduce heat stress and keep your employees safe can go a long way to keeping it a safe summer for all.