Protect Yourself From Heat Stress
April showers bring May flowers, and don't forget about the bugs! And we definitely cannot forget about the heat. As we enter May, we are already seeing the temperatures rise into the 90s. While some like it hot, your workers still need to be protected from heat stress. Heat stress occurs when the body becomes dehydrated and cannot maintain a normal temperature in the heat, which can then lead to heat-related illnesses and even death. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and cramps, to heat exhaustion, and the most serious illness, heatstroke.
Heatstroke occurs when the core body temperature rises above 40.5⁰ C, and the body's internal systems start to fail. Normally, sweating helps to maintain a healthy body temperature by increasing heat loss through evaporation. Many organs in the body can be damaged and death can occur.
Not only is discussing heat stress an important safety topic, it is also required by OSHA. This year, OSHA will be implementing a heat-stress emphasis program, and will be making more visits when the outside temperatures are over 80⁰ F (which happens occasionally in Georgia). This month's Safety Alert can be used to help start the conversation with your employees about your heat-stress policies and procedures. Remember, prevention is the best way to avoid heat stress.
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