A few years ago I received a call from the brother of a janitor who was found dead in a small windowless janitor supply room. Since he was found dead in the workplace, his brother inquired about whether there was some sort of a work connection. After some further investigation, he found that the outside temperature was over 100 degrees and an expert determined that the temperature inside the room was many degrees higher, leading to his death.
Working in the heat, whether indoors or outdoors, poses safety hazard problems for workers. As warmer summer temperatures approach, OSHA has released a new poster containing tips on preventing heat-related illness and fatalities, including these:
- Drink water ever 20 minutes even it you are not thirsty.
- Take rest breaks in the shade to cool down.
- Wear a hat and loose-fitting light-colored clothing.
- Monitor co-workers for signs of heat illness such as headache and nausea, weakness, dizziness, or elevated body temperature and thirst.
Workers who show abnormal thinking or behavior, or slurred speech, or suffer seizures stemming from the heat should prompt a call to 9-1-1 immediately. OSHA recommends cooling the worker with water or ice,. Additional resources on the topic is available at OSHA website under its “Water. Rest. Shade.” Campaign.