How should employers deal with a heat wave and heat illness?
Employers must acclimatize workers to increases in heat. How do you do that? Have a plan in place and in practice to gradually increase employee exposure to hot conditions. The plan can include action steps such as reduced work hours, extra breaks, reducing the strenuousness of the work etc. A plan can limit the amount of work employees perform each day to gradually increase the workload in hot conditions. OSHA suggests starting at a 20% workload for the first day and increasing 20% each day until workers are acclimatized to the heat. The plan can also take into account natural acclimatization due to gradual increases in temperatures during the work period.
However you decide to handle heat acclimatization is ultimately up to your specific business operations and potential heat exposure, but OSHA has made it clear that ignoring the risks involved in heat exposure is a surefire way to invite employee injuries, an OSHA inspection and investigation, and potential citations.
For more information on heat Illness Prevention click the link to OSHA resources.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.