Friday, May 11, 2007

Taking the Heat Out of the Job

Avoiding heat stress on the job ...

"Construction work is hazardous enough. But when summer brings sweltering temperatures, workers have to be extra careful to not let heat overcome them. One company – Turner Construction – is taking heat stress prevention to new heights.
Escaping the heat while working outdoors in the summer is a challenge. But when the job involves constant drilling, lifting heavy loads or pouring hot asphalt, it becomes almost impossible to stay cool.

The challenge of preventing heat stress for outdoor workers has garnered a lot of attention, so much so that several states already regulate heat stress prevention for outdoor workers. In California, for instance, a spike in the number of heat-related work fatalities led the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to adopt a permanent heat stress standard in June 2006. Likewise, the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) in the state of Washington issued an emergency heat stress rule that modified an already existing rule on indoor temperature exposure to make it applicable to outdoor workers as well.

... DePrater notes that while it is almost impossible to escape the heat while working under a hot summer sun, preventing heat stress is possible. Already lauded for its comprehensive safety programs (OSHA has acknowledged Turner as a model of accident prevention in practice), Turner Construction’s take on heat stress is taking action before it becomes a problem."    (Continued via Occupational Hazards)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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