As we are in the full swing of summer, hopefully everyone is getting some time in the sun with their families, getting to finish those home projects that have been put off since the winter and taking a few strokes off our fictional handicaps. With all of the excitement of summer often times employers forget about the dangers that come with summer. Major violations are handed out each year but OHSA due to heat illness prevention, the top ones being: Lack of a written program, lack of training to all employees/supervisors and lack of access to water. Taking the simple steps to set up a heat illness prevention program will help employers avoid violations and more importantly, keep your employees safe. OSHA helps outline how to set up the program with these simple 8 steps:
(1) Training employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention before work begins. Employees may view this are boring or useless but not only will this help from avoiding violations but your employees will be surprised how useful these meetings will be.
(2) Providing plenty of cool, fresh water and reminding employees to drink water frequently. No matter what or where your workplace is, there should be water available. Whether it's keeping bottles handle or a high school football style dispenser, water keeps your employees healthy.
(3) Providing an accessible shaded area for breaks which can easily be over looked. Giving employees breaks can help recharge their body and mind.
(4) Ensuring that workers have enough time to "acclimatize" to the heat;
(5) Preparing an emergency heat illness prevention plan, with training for supervisors and workers on the steps to take if a worker shows signs or symptoms of heat illness. Employers may think that a heat illness will not happen to them but preparing for one will payback tenfold when there is an incident. A workplace that is prepared will be able to handle tough and stressful situations. W One that isn't, will scramble and risk the wellbeing of their employees.
(6) Observing workers for signs and symptoms of heat illness;
(7) Providing close supervision of workers in the first 14 days of their employment (to ensure acclimatization)
(8) Having effective communication systems, which is the key to any successful business.
When your staff knows who is supposed to do what, they will succeed in the workplace and in the event of a crisis.