Best Practices: Occupational Heat Exposure
The best way to prevent heat-related illness is to make the work environment cooler. A variety of engineering controls can reduce workers' exposure to heat:
  • Air conditioning (such as air-conditioned crane or construction equipment cabs, air conditioning in break rooms).
  • Increased general ventilation.
  • Cooling fans.
  • Local exhaust ventilation at points of high heat production or moisture (such as exhaust hoods in laundry rooms).
  • Reflective shields to redirect radiant heat.
  • Insulation of hot surfaces (such as furnace walls).
  • Elimination of steam leaks.
Work Practices
  • Employers should have an emergency plan in place that specifies what to do if a worker has signs of heat-related illness, and ensures that medical services are available if needed.
  • Employers should take steps that help workers become acclimatized (gradually build up exposure to heat), especially workers who are new to working in the heat or have been away from work for a week or more. Gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks during the first week of work.
  • Workers must have adequate potable (safe for drinking) water close to the work area, and should drink small amounts frequently.
  • Rather than being exposed to heat for extended periods of time, workers should, wherever possible, be permitted to distribute the workload evenly over the day and incorporate work/rest cycles.
  • If possible, physical demands should be reduced during hot weather, or heavier work scheduled for cooler times of the day.
  • Rotating job functions among workers can help minimize overexertion and heat exposure.
  • Workers should watch out for each other for symptoms of heat-related illness and administer appropriate first aid to anyone who is developing a heat-related illness.
  • In some situations, employers may need to conduct physiological monitoring of workers.
Find additional information at https://www.osha.gov/heat/

Source: United States Department of Labor - Occupational Safety and Health Administration