PREPARE FOR SUMMER HEAT
Heat related illness is one of the most common maladies to befall outdoor workers, particularly in agricultural settings. The basic problem is a rise in body core temperature due to conditions that induce dehydration, or otherwise block the body’s natural ability to cool itself. Heat illness is exacerbated by heavy or protective clothing, respiratory protection, age, weight, fitness, and lack of acclimatization. Smoking, caffeine, and alcohol also enhance heat stress. Under OSHA law, employers are responsible for protecting workers from extreme heat. An employer with workers exposed to high temperatures should establish a heat illness prevention program that includes the following:
1. Providing workers with water, rest, and shade;
2. Allowing new or returning workers to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they build heat tolerance;
3. Planning for emergencies and training workers on prevention;
4. Monitoring workers for signs of illness.
For more information, about heat-related illness see The Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Centers website on heat related illness