Members of the National Heat Safety Coalition joined with experts to develop its first heat stress recommendations. The guidance for industrial work was reviewed and accepted by American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C. Member companies of the NHSC include New York-based Mission and Magid, Romeoville, Illinois, along with The Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut.
The 51-member team that developed these guidelines was comprised of NHSC members, doctors, industry leaders and experts from National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the U.S. military. The team’s recommendations focus on protecting worker health and safety while also ensuring productivity.
The document addresses eight areas that are key to keeping workers safe in hot conditions, including heat hygiene, hydration, heat acclimatization, environmental monitoring, physiological monitoring, body cooling, textiles and PPE and emergency action plans and implementation.
“The group recognized that employers would be reluctant to adopt new policies and procedures if they had an undue impact on productivity,” says Matt Block, director of health & safety services at Magid and NHSC board of advisors member. “The irony of this crisis is that heat illness actually reduces productivity and is completely preventable if employers take some fairly inexpensive measures. The lack of solid national guidelines has been the biggest obstacle to keeping people safer and preventing tragedies.”
Approval of this document is the first step in creating a foundation for focused recommendations that consider the particular needs and obstacles that each industry experiences in hot conditions due to location, machinery and difficulty of the labor.