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Emergencies can happen anywhere. Don’t get caught at work unprepared! It’s important to plan ahead and discuss what to do before, during, and after an emergency that occurs in the workplace. Discuss how to get to a safe place and stay in touch with co-workers and superiors. Look for emergency exit signs in your workplace and identify at least two evacuation routes. It’s crucial to follow additional instructions and emergency plan guidance provided by your workplace.

Can Your Business Beat the Heat?

Summertime is fast approaching and with it brings the possibility of intense heat and humidity. While some businesses provide a cool oasis of air conditioning, businesses with outdoor operations may put their employees at greater risk of heat related illness. According to the Center for Disease Control, extreme temperatures account for more than 600 deaths every summer. If your business has employees that work in hot environments for extended periods of time, it’s important to know the signs of heat illness and take precautionary measures to protect employees.

What is heat illness?

The signs and symptoms of heat illness may not be immediately apparent, so it is important to know what warning signs look for and what to do when an employee is experiencing symptoms of heat illness. The CDC considers the following heat exposure related illnesses as heat illness:

Heat Stroke occurs when the body can no longer regulate internal heat and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels over 104. Heat stroke may result and death and should be treated as a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 immediately!

Heat Exhaustion occurs when the body temperature exceeds 100.4 degrees and can cause headaches, nausea weakness, confusion, and heavy sweating. Workers showing signs of heat exhaustion should be taken to a clinic or emergency room for medical evaluation.

Heat Cramps are muscle pains or spasms caused by loss of fluid, typically through sweating and overexertion.  

What can you do to prevent heat illness?

Take steps to limit exposure to extreme temperatures

  • Consider modified work schedules
  • Reschedule non-essential ourdoor work for cooler days
  • Schedule more physically demanding work during cooler times of day, such as early morning or later in the evening
  • Ensure employees receive plenty of water
  • Ensure employees have access to shade and use a work/rest cycle, allowing them to take periodic breaks
  • Sign up for AlertDC and pay close attention to hyperthermia alerts!
  • Train employees on the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion

 For more information on actions you can take to prevent heat illness, visit OSHA.gov