Add this updated procedure to your Safety Handbook and notify all employees.
This was updated some time ago, but has now been added to our new Updates Blog page.
When we update a policy or procedure, we will add it to this area.
Heat Illness Prevention
“Acclimatization” means temporary adaptation of the body to work in the heat that occurs gradually when a person is exposed to it. Acclimatization peaks in most people within four to fourteen days of regular work for at least two hours per day in the heat.
“Heat Illness” means a serious medical condition resulting from the body’s inability to cope with a particular heat load, and includes heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat syncope and heat stroke.
“Environmental risk factors for heat illness” means working conditions that create the possibility that heat illness could occur, including air temperature, relative humidity, radiant heat from the sun and other sources, conductive heat sources such as the ground, air movement, workload severity and duration, protective clothing and personal protective equipment worn by employees.
“Personal risk factors for heat illness” means factors such as an individual’s age, degree of acclimatization, health, water consumption, alcohol consumption, caffeine consumption, and use of prescription medications that affect the body’s water retention or other physiological responses to heat.
“Preventative recovery period” means a period of time to recover from the heat in order to prevent heat illness.
“Shade” means blockage of direct sunlight. Canopies, umbrellas and other temporary structures or devices may be used to provide shade. One indicator that blockage is sufficient is when objects do not cast a shadow in the area of blocked sunlight. Shade is not adequate when heat in the area of shade defeats the purpose of shade, which is to allow the body to cool. For example, a car sitting in the sun does not provide acceptable shade to a person inside it, unless the car is running with air conditioning.
Provision of Water
Employees shall have access to potable drinking water that is clean and maintained through individual dispensers, faucets, or drinking fountains. The water must be fresh, pure, suitably cool, and provided free of charge to employees. Additionally, the water must be located as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working (unless the employer can demonstrate infeasibility).
Where water is not plumbed or otherwise continuously supplied, with properly marked dispensable cups or bottles, it shall be provided in sufficient quantity at the beginning of the work shift to provide a minimum of one quart per employee per hour for drinking for the entire shift.
Employees may begin the shift with smaller quantities of water if they have effective access / procedures for replenishment during the shift as needed to allow employees to drink one quart or more per hour. Frequent drinking of water is encouraged!
Access to Shade
Employees shall be provided with shade when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees and so that it can accommodate the total number of employees on recovery or rest periods.
Employees suffering from heat illness or believing a preventative recovery period is needed, shall be provided access to an area with shade that is either open to the air or provided with ventilation or cooling for a period of no less than five minutes.
Employees shall be provided enough shade during meal breaks to accommodate the total number of employees that remain outside. In addition, the shaded area is to be located as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working.
Such access to shade shall be permitted at all times. Except for employers in the agricultural industry, cooling measures other than shade (e.g., use of misting machines) may be provided in lieu of shade if the employer can demonstrate that these measures are at least as effective as shade in allowing employees to cool.
Agricultural employees shall have a 10-minute cool down rest periods every two hours.
Preventative Cool-Down Rest Periods
The heat illness regulation requires employers to allow and encourage employees to take a minimum of five-minutes for a cool-down rest period if they feel they need to protect themselves from overheating. Now, in addition to allowing and encouraging employees to take cool-down rest periods, the Company supervisor in charge will monitor and ask employees taking rest periods whether he or she is experiencing symptoms of heat illness.
The Company supervisor in charge will encourage employees taking a rest period to remain in the shade. The Company supervisor in charge shall not order employees to work until signs or symptoms of heat illness have been abated.
The company will implement high-heat procedures when the temperature equals or exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Company supervisor in charge shall ensure that there is effective communication between supervisors and employees, and observe employees for alertness and signs or symptoms of heat illness.
The Company supervisor in charge will assertively monitor employees by instituting: a one supervisor to twenty or fewer employee ratio, a mandatory buddy system, a regular communication through electronic device routine with each employee, or another effective means of communication.
The Company supervisor in charge will also designate one or more employees on each worksite as authorized individuals for emergency medical services. If there is no designee on shift, employees are instructed to call for emergency services when required.
Pre-shift meetings that must take place before the commencement of work on each shift during high heat conditions.
The shift meetings should:
- Review high heat procedures
- Encourage employees to drink plenty of water
- Remind employees of their right to take a cool-down rest break when needed.
The Company supervisor in charge will assign supervisors to closely observe and monitor employees during a heat wave. A heat wave is defined as temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit or anytime the temperature is ten degrees higher than the average high daily temperature in the preceding five days.
The Company supervisor in charge will assign a supervisors to closely monitor a new employee for the first 14 days of his or her employment in a high heat area.
Emergency Preparedness Requirements
High-Heat emergency response preparedness requirements now must include:
(1) an effective communication with employees by voice, observation, or electronic means;
(2) an effective response with first aid measures; and
(3) procedures for contacting emergency responders to help stricken workers.
(1) Employee training
Training in the following topics shall be provided to all supervisory and non-supervisory employees.
(A) The environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness;
(B) The employer’s procedures for complying with the requirements of this standard;
(C) The importance of frequent consumption of small quantities of water, up to 4 cups per hour, when the work environment is hot and employees are likely to be sweating more than usual in the performance of their duties;
(D) The importance of acclimatization;
(E) The different types of heat illness and the common signs and symptoms of heat illness;
(F) The importance to employees of immediately reporting to the employer, directly or through the employee’s supervisor, symptoms or signs of heat illness in themselves, or in co-workers;
(G) The employer’s procedures for responding to symptoms of possible heat illness, including how emergency medical services will be provided should they become necessary;
(H) The employer’s procedures for contacting emergency medical services, and if necessary, for transporting employees to a point where they can be reached by an emergency medical service provider;
(I) The employer’s procedures for ensuring that, in the event of an emergency, clear and precise directions to the work site can and will be provided as needed to emergency responders.
(2) Supervisor training
Prior to assignment to supervision of employees working in the heat, training on the following topics shall be provided:
(A) The information required to be provided by section (e)(1) above.
(B) The procedures the supervisor is to follow to implement the applicable provisions in this section.
(C) The procedures the supervisor is to follow when an employee exhibits symptoms consistent with possible heat illness, including emergency response procedures.
(3) The employer’s procedures required by subsections (e)(1)(B), (G), (H), and (I) shall be in writing and shall be made available to employees and to representatives of the Division upon request.