Last month, more than 51,000 people across southeastern U.S. construction jobsites halted work for a Safety Stand Down focused on heat-related illnesses. The Associated General Contractors of Georgia developed the awareness-building event in partnership with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“Summer months in the Southeast can be brutal on field employees, and heat illnesses can be deadly,” the organization said in a statement. “These illnesses are preventable.”
OSHA Heat Safety Recommendations
• Download OSHA’s Heat Safety app to monitor the heat index and get reminders about protective measures.
• Provide air conditioning or shaded areas near the work area.
• Schedule frequent breaks.
• Provide workers with plenty of cool water in visible areas on the site.
• Encourage employees to wear or provide them with light-colored, permeable clothing.
• Learn and monitor for signs of heat-related illness.
Working safely in hot weather keeps employees healthy and prevents workplace safety violations. According to a recent article by online legal news magazine Corporate Counsel, [LINK http://www.corpcounsel.com] heat safety standards and citations fall under the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Violating the clause could bring fines up to $7,000. California and Oregon also have specific heat-related safety standards.
Human resources expert Douglas Delp, president of the Delp Group, in Green Lane, Pa., says that employers should “make employees aware of physical components of their jobs from the start,” by writing them into every job description. “Whether it’s incredibly cold or incredibly hot, be careful not to minimize the danger,” he adds. “The lead carpenter or supervisor needs to make sure that the jobsite is operating safely.”
—Lauren Hunter is the senior products editor at REMODELING. Follow her on Twitter at @LaurenHunter_HW or @RemodelingMag.