Summer is finally here – the perfect season for vacations, barbeques, and heading to the beach. Besides all that fun in the sun, summer also brings intense heat and humidity. According to HealthResearchFunding.org, in 2006, the second-hottest year on record, 3,100 U.S. workers had a heat-related illness that caused them to miss work. Additionally, there have been at least 20 deaths related to heat since 2010.
To ensure a safe work environment during the summertime, here are five safety tips for facility managers:
1. Be Aware of Heat Illness
Building/grounds maintenance is one of the industries most affected by heat-related illness, particularly among those who work outside. Employees should be trained on the symptoms of heat-related illness and how to prevent them. Employers should also monitor workers for signs of heat illness, including headache, nausea, dizziness, no sweat, thirst, and weakness.
According to OSHA, water, rest, and shade are essential to prevent heat-related illnesses. Even if you’re not thirsty, it’s important to drink water every 15 minutes. Remind your employees about the dangers of heat illness and encourage them to drink water throughout the day.
2. Wear Protective Equipment
Think of it this way: wearing protective equipment while working is similar to wearing your seatbelt while driving a car. You wouldn’t travel without buckling up first, so why would you perform risky work without wearing protective equipment? Protective equipment such as non-slip shoes, safety glasses, and gloves is essential to your employees’ safety, so don’t let them perform high-risk work without it.
Additionally, encourage employees to wear sunscreen when working outside. The sun’s rays are the most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so make sure employees wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and with UVA and UVB protection.
3. Use Caution
Carelessness causes unnecessary injuries. Remember, there are no shortcuts in maintaining a safe environment. It’s important to do the job the right way every day and for facility managers to reinforce safety procedures with their employees.
4. Work in Ventilated Areas
Use air conditioning or fans whenever possible in the summer. Good airflow and ventilation increase the evaporation of sweat, which cools the skin and can prevent heat-related illnesses.
5. Common Sense
Most importantly, common sense prevents accidents. Employees must use good judgment before performing tasks and ask for help if they can’t complete a task on their own.
If employees are working outside, they must pay attention to other environmental hazards that can come with hot weather, including smog. Encourage employees to dress appropriately for hot weather, too. They should wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing, so they don’t get overheated.
Always be smart when working in humid, hot environments. Remind your employees to use caution and follow safe practices at all times. For more information on summer safety in the workplace, contact GCA Services Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.