Water. Rest. Shade. Keeping workers safe in the heat.
Heat-related illness is preventable, especially when companies are committed to providing the most effective controls. Workers who have not spent time recently in warm or hot environments and being physically active also will need time to build tolerance to the heat.
Employers should encourage workers to:
- Consume adequate fluids (water and sport drinks).
- Work shorter shifts.
- Take frequent breaks.
- Quickly identify any heat-illness symptoms.
Engineering controls such as air conditioning, with cooled air, and increased air flow, also can make the workplace safer.
Other options for keeping body temperatures down in warm environments include making changes to workload and schedules.
For example, companies can empower supervisors and workers to slow down physical activity like reducing manual handling speeds, to schedule work for the morning or have shorter shifts with frequent rest breaks in the shade or away from heat sources. At a minimum, supervisors and workers should receive training about heat-related symptoms and first aid.
Remember: Water, rest and shade when working in the heat.