OSHA Heat Stress Training – Why You Need It!
OSHA Heat Stress Training – Why You Need It!
Heat stress occurs when our bodies are over heated and our internal “cooling system” can not cool us down fast enough or properly. When our bodies fail to cool us down in intense heat, the effects can be serious illness and even death. Employees who work outside a lot and in intense temperatures need to complete heat stress training to learn how they can protect themselves against over-heating and prevent heat stress symptoms that can cause sickness and fatality. The OSHA heat stress course from CertifyMe.net can protect your workplace from heat-related hazards and reduce your risk of being fined.
What Is Heat Stress?
- Heat stress can cause some serious conditions, including the following:
- Heat stroke may be life threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
- Heat exhaustion at work is only slightly less dangerous than heat stroke. Fortunately, it responds quickly to prompt treatment.
- Heat cramps occur when fluid is lost and salt accumulates in muscle cells.
- Heat rash is a common problem when the skin remains hot and wet. If the ambient humidity is too high, sweat will not evaporate. A rash develops that may become infected if untreated.
- Heat fatigue occurs when people have not taken time to acclimatize to hot conditions. Heat stress symptoms are mainly mental and affect workers in mental, skilled manual or vigilance jobs. The only way to deal with heat fatigue is to prevent it by removing the hazards for heat stress OSHA suggests, before it gets worse.
Heat Stress Symptoms
Heat stress symptoms, things that the person experiences when they have heat stroke, include confusion and difficulty thinking clearly. In extreme cases, they can have a seizure or lose consciousness. Co-workers may notice that the person has stopped sweating, another sign of heat stress.
Symptoms of heat stress and heat exhaustion at work include headache, dizziness, fainting, wet skin, weakness, irritability and confusion. Other signs and symptoms of this type of heat stress are nausea, vomiting and thirst.
OSHA heat stress training teaches workers all about these heat stress symptoms, how to recognize them, and how to help someone who may be experiencing a heat-related health emergency.
Who is Vulnerable to Heat Stress?
People in certain professions are more at risk for heat stress and heat exhaustion at work, especially those who work outdoors. At-risk jobs include firefighters, construction workers, farmers and miners. Indoor jobs at risk of heat stress symptoms include bakers, factory workers and people who work in boiler rooms.
Workers who are over the age of 65, who are obese, have high blood pressure or heart disease, or who take certain medications are also at a higher risk of heat stress.
OSHA Heat Stress Prevention Campaign
Between 2008 and 2014, OSHA documented more than 100 workplace fatalities caused by heat stress). And in 2014 alone, there were 2,630 heat illnesses and 18 deaths from heat stroke reported. But heat stroke is completely preventable, and heat stress OSHA training can prepare both employers and workers to recognize and avoid heat-related hazards.
OSHA’s Rules and Standards for Heat Stress Training
According to the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of OSHA, employers are required to supply their employees with a safe working environment that is “free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.” Employees have the right to a safe workplace that does not cause heat-related sickness or death. And employers have a legal obligation to ensure this environment.
To protect workers from excessive heat, employers must do the following OSHA heat stress practices:
- Provide water, shade, and a resting area
- Allow new or returning workers to increase workloads gradually and take more frequent breaks as they acclimate to the heat
- Have a plan for emergencies
- Monitor workers for signs of illness
- Train employees to prevent heat illness and heat stroke
- Report all cases of heat stress symptoms and illness (if a worker needed intravenous fluids, not simply needing to drink more water)
Additional OSHA heat stress suggestions to prevent heat-related illness and heat exhaustion at work include:
- Drink water every 15 minutes, even if not thirsty
- Rest in the shade
- Wear a hat to shield you from the sun
- Wear light-colored clothing
- Learn the symptoms of heat illness and the necessary actions
- Watch fellow employees for signs of heat illness
- Take it easy on the first day to get used to the heat
What Equipment Can Prevent Heat Illness and Heat Stroke?
In addition to worker heat stress OSHA training, heat illness and stroke can be prevented with the proper equipment to aid in heat relief. These systems include general ventilation, air cooling systems, local air cooling for specific areas, and heat conduction blocking.
What Personal Protective Equipment Can Help Prevent Heat Stress?
Workers should wear reflective clothing that covers the worker from neck to feet as it protects a worker’s skin from sun burn and serious injury. To prevent heating under the clothing, it should be worn as loosely as possible and may allow for auxiliary cooling systems to be worn underneath. Additional equipment that heat stress OSHA guidelines suggest includes body cooling ice vests which are worn underneath clothes; wetted clothing Terry cloth coveralls and whole-body cotton suits; water-cooled garments such as hoods, vests, and long johns which require batteries to operate; and circulating air which consists of compressed air being circulated around a person’s body.
What Are the OSHA Heat Stress Recommendations for Preventing Heat Illness?
It is important for workers to first acclimatize themselves to the heat before jumping into a full day of work at a new jobsite. Workers also need to remember to replace their bodily fluids that they are sweating out with cool water every 20 minutes or so. Cool water should be provided close to the work area and under shade to keep cool. Workers can also prevent heat illness by reducing their physical demands during the work day. Employers need to provide workers with recovery areas with air-conditioned systems to cool down and rest to prevent heat exhaustion at work. And if a day is looking too hot to work, employers should reschedule projects for another day. Finally, everyone on a job site can do their duty to prevent illness and heat stroke by monitoring fellow workers and immediately announcing their concern if they notice any dangerous heat stress symptoms.
Heat Stress Training Program – What You Learn
In addition to supplying water and rest areas, employers also need to implement an OSHA heat stress training program for all employees to complete. It should include:
- Understanding of heat stress hazards
- Recognition of predisposing factors, signs, and symptoms
- Knowledge of first-aid procedures and health effects of heat stroke
- The causes of heat exhaustion at work
- Employee responsibility in preventing heat stress
- The danger of using drugs and alcohol in heat
- Use of protective clothing and heat-reducing equipment
- Importance of drinking small quantities of water frequently
- Procedures for responding to heat illness
- Procedures for contacting emergency medical services
- Procedures for ensuring medical personnel find the work site easily and efficiently
How CertifyMe.net Can Help with OSHA Heat Stress Training
As you can imagine as an employer, it’s vitally important that you comply with all OSHA heat stress rules and regulations. Doing so will keep your workers safe and your workplace safe from costly fines and potential legalities. But, you might be thinking that to comply with all OSHA standards and to supply your employees with heat stress OSHA training that meets the above requirements, it must be expensive and a hassle. With CertifyMe.net, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
With our convenient online program, your entire workplace will receive easy access to the heat stress training modules you need to be 100% OSHA compliant, and prevent heat-related illness and fatalities. Accessible 24/7 from any device with an internet connection, our online course is easy and simple to complete from home, at work, or at a coffee shop. You won’t have to sign up for an in-person class and cover time-off and travel compensation costs for your workers. Simply have them create their own log-in account, and they can work through the modules at their own pace, on their own time. All of the OSHA heat stress information they need will be delivered to them in the most efficient way possible, including heat stress symptoms, how to prevent heat exhaustion at work, and how to recognize and avoid heat-related hazards.
With the OSHA heat stress training from CertifyMe.net, you can:
- Prepare your workers to protect their health and prevent heat-related illness at work
- Reduce the number of accidents in your workplace
- Avoid fines and legalities
- Boost the productivity of your workplace
- Be 100% compliant with all heat stress OSHA standards
- Save money and time with the most affordable and convenient training course available
Contact us today for information about our new Heat Stress Training course.
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