Rushville Republican

News

July 8, 2014

Hot and humid working conditions

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana is experiencing summer’s hot temperatures and high humidity levels, two primary contributors to heat-related illnesses. The Indiana Department of Labor (IDOL) is advising employers and employees to work together to prevent heat-related illnesses.

Employees working in high temperatures and humid conditions, outdoors or indoors, are at risk for suffering a heat-related illness. Employers must ensure workers are protected. Industries most affected by heat-related illnesses include: construction, commercial bakeries and laundries, foundries, transportation and utilities, agriculture, landscaping services and others. Heat-related illnesses are completely preventable.

Three critical factors reduce the likelihood of heat-related illnesses:

1. Water: Do not depend on thirst to signal when and how much water to drink. Workers are already dehydrated by the time they feel thirsty. Drink five to seven ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes, or approximately one bottle of water an hour, to replenish lost fluids.

2. Rest: Regular rest breaks aid workers in hot working environments, both outdoors and indoors. Rested workers are more productive and less likely to experience a heat-related illness.

3. Shade: Provide outdoor workers shaded break areas. Resting in the sun does NOT effectively cool workers. Only shaded areas give necessary relief.

The IDOL encourages employers and employees to learn about heat-related illnesses and take necessary precautions. Symptoms of heat stroke, including confusion, dizziness and the inability to sweat, are a medical emergency. Taking the necessary precautions can mean the difference between life and death.

To learn more about heat stress and access additional worker safety and health resources, visit OSHA’s heat illness page at www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html.

Employers can request a free INSafe workplace safety and health consultation by submitting the form at www.in.gov/dol/insafeconsultation.

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