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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Safety in Heat Toolbox Talks

Safety in Heat

Why Safety is Much Important in The Heat?

In the extreme scorching and humid parts of the world e.g., Bangkok, (Thailand), Las Vegas, (Nevada), Hong Kong, (China), Mexicali, (Mexico), Melbourne, (Australia), Kuala Lumpur, (Malaysia), Phoenix, (Arizona), Athens, (Greece), Cairo, (Egypt), and most of the Gulf and Middle East countries including United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain. It is very important to note that the workforce who carry out their activities and tasks under the direct sun, particularly in the months of summers, may be exposed to many occupational illnesses and injuries. Due to excess heat stress, employees may affect and can lead to heatstroke, heat exhaustion, succumb, cramps and rashes. Along with excessive heat stress, high temperatures can also cause injuries among the workforce through clammy hands and faintness. The employees who are excessively exposed to heat stress are laborers performing their routine activities externally (such as general construction workforce, MEP technicians, facade or general cleaners, industrial manufacturing and agricultural workers). The avoidance from heat stress is very necessary and the employers have their moral and legal responsibility to provide proper education and occupational health and safety training for their employees they understand the effects of heat stress and how to prevent it. The employers must take proper initiatives to safeguard the workforce from excessive heat stress by providing frequent rest duration in shaded places and a permanent supply of drinking water and shower facilities.

Aims of Excessive Heat Prevention Program at the Worksite

A proper Heat Prevention Program plays a vital and dominant role in all-region and parts of such hot atmospheric environment and provides all required information and guidance to the employers or business operators and have workers in places with high temperatures (exposed to the sunlight directly or in an external space exposed to hot weather) and thermal processes that take place within the worksite or other work activities that are marked and declared by high temperature. This type of initiative and heat prevention programs help and guide employers to implement the heat stress management initiatives strategies and to ensure appropriate control measures to safeguard their workforce from the sun’s ray. The most of the Government and semi-government authorities and provide educational material for health and safety professionals, supervisors and workers, and such type health and safety-related material and information enhance and make competent to the professionals and that also include several responsibilities required to prevent and to remedy illnesses caused by high temperatures and extreme heat. The health and safety awareness materials are a major part of the heat stress program procedures and initiatives.

Guidance for Employers

All the Employers and Business Operators Should Take the Following Initiatives to Protect Employees from Heat Stress:
  • All MEP activates should be scheduled in extremely hot areas or regions for cooler months or the cooler part of the day.
  • Provide frequent breaks or rests to the employees.
  • Reduce the physical needs of the workforce
  • Provide cool freshwater to employees.
  • The workforce should avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sugar and always try to drink fresh simple water. It enhances the immune mechanism in the human body.
  • Provide cool shelter areas to utilize during frequent breaks.
  • Apply a proper monitoring mechanism for employees who are at possible risk of heat stress.
  • Induct and train the employees with proper and meaningful heat stress prevention information.

Instructions for Employees

Employees have also some responsibilities and they should avoid exposure to sun exposure, extreme heat and high humidity when possible. If such exposures unavoidable, then employees should take the following initiatives to prevent themselves from extreme heat stress exposure:
  • Alterations and or variations in uniforms and dresses such as wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as pure cotton made dresses.
  • Non-breathing synthetic clothing should be avoided and not used.
  • Heavy work activities should be scheduled during the coolest parts of the day.

Types of Heat Stress

Heatstroke

Heatstroke is the most severe situation related to heat stress and should be treated as a medical emergency. When the body becomes impotent to control its extreme temperature, the body mechanism that regulates sweating fails, the body is incapable to cool down the body temperature to normal and the entire temperature of the human body quickly climbs up.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat Exhaust developed when the human body wastes an extra amount of water and salt through enormous sweating. Usually such type of conditions caused by exposure to a high amount of temperatures, particularly with high humidity, and exhausting activities.

Heat Syncope or Unconsciousness

The heat syncope or Unconsciousness is fainting dizziness or faintness that can result from tedious standing. And due to prolonged standing or working blood vessels in the body expand to defuse heat, which lowers human body blood pressure.

Heat Cramps

The heat cramps condition is supposed to be very painful, uncontrolled muscle contraction that generally affects workforce who sweat extremely during the laborious job. This sweating reduces the human body’s electrolyte and moisture levels, which add to painful cramps. Heat cramps can be a symptom of severe and extreme heat exhaustion.

Heat Rash

The heat rash is a skin inflammation caused by excessive sweating in hot, humid weather. This type of heat damage is not as dangerous as the other above mentioned. It also is termed as “prickly heat.” Mostly, it develops when skin ducts are blocked and diaphoresis is ambushed beneath the body skin.

What to do if you Suspect Heat Exhaustion or Stroke:

  • Get medical aid
  • Move to an air-conditioned environment or at least a cool, shaded area
  • Loosen or remove unnecessary clothing

The Prominent Example of Heat Safety in Middle East Countries

Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety and Health Center OSHAD-SF which is the state of Abu Dhabi owned occupational Health and Safety institution and have launched its Safety in Heat program to raise awareness about the procedures that must be implemented for the heat stress management program by employers and supervisors to protect workers from the summer heat in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The Safety in Heat program is supported by the Ministry of Labour following the law that states employers must not allow workers to perform any outdoor activities from 12:30 pm until 3:00 pm. This law will be applied for three months (from June 15 to September 15).
Safety in Heat Toolbox Talks

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