Employers share their tips for keeping workers safe in extreme heat
In our last issue, we asked employers and safety professionals to tell us how they are keeping workers safe from extreme heat. Below are a few examples of the responses we received. For more, and to submit your own, visit our heat campaign webpage.
Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries in Springfield, Ill., implements a buddy system within shifts so that workers can keep an eye on each other and report to their supervisor if they notice symptoms of heat illness. It is the company’s policy that new and/or transferred employees be acclimated to the environment by getting frequent breaks during their first two weeks on the job and during heat waves. The company also equips workers with cooling caps and bandanas, and provides earlier shifts and additional breaks, water and sports drinks on days when temperatures are expected to be especially high. Throughout the summer the company sends text messages/emails, and gives posters and toolbox talks to keep workers alert to the hazards of heat exposure.
Ballard Marine Construction uses canopies equipped with hoses to provide its workers with shade and cooling mist that protect them from the heat.
Ballard Marine Construction is a marine infrastructure and utility contractor serving international clients in the nuclear, hydroelectric, salvage, pipeline, and submarine cable industries. The company sets up portable shade canopies outside its dive control vans, with misting hoses woven throughout the frames to cover workers with a fine spray of water throughout the day. The company has also installed misters on its barges and used misting fans to keep its workers cool in high temperatures.
Granite Construction, one of the 25 largest construction companies in the U.S., uses a variety of methods to keep its workers safe from the heat. These include: providing each jobsite supervisor with a portable canopy sun shade; equipping workers with evaporative, cooling neck towels and shades that attach to the back of their hard hats to protect their necks from sun exposure; monitoring the OSHA-NIOSH heat safety app and following its recommendations; and conducting training sessions on heat exposure, how to recognize and treat heat-related illness, and proper hydration.