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Preventing and Responding to Heat Illness

Elements of Your Written Program and Effective Work Practices

WORK CLOTHING AND PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

What is in T8CCR 3395?

T8CCR 3395(b) Definitions states the following:

“Environmental risk factors for heat illness” means working conditions that create the possibility that heat illness could occur, including air temperature, relative humidity, radiant heat from the sun and other sources, conductive heat sources such as the ground, air movement, workload severity and duration, protective clothing and personal protective equipment worn by employees.

T8CCR 3395(f) Training states the following:

(1) Employee training. Effective training in the following topics shall be provided to each supervisory and non-supervisory employee before the employee begins work that should reasonably be anticipated to result in exposure to the risk of heat illness:

(A) The environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness, as well as the added burden of heat load on the body caused by exertion, clothing, and personal protective equipment.

Best Practices and Warnings

Inappropriate work clothing and Personal Protective Equipment can increase the burden of heat load on the body caused by exertion and increase the risk of developing Heat Illness.

Best Practices

  • Appropriate work clothing for employees protects them against the sun and other environmental risk factors and allows the body to cool helping to prevent Heat Illness. In general appropriate work clothing should be:
    • Lightweight , loose fitting and made of breathable fabric that allow airflow and air movement aiding in cooling the body.
    • Light-colored that reflects the heat better than dark-colored clothes (which absorb heat).
    • Shirts with long sleeves that cover the body and avoid sunburn. Sunburn affects the body’s ability to cool itself and increases the loss of body fluid.
      Lady working in the heat with loose clothing

Note - employees should not wear loose fitting clothes when working near moving machinery because of the danger of entanglement

  • Also employees should wear a wide-brim hat with attached fabric to provide shade to the head, neck, face and eyes

    Woman working outside wearing a hat


Warning

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE can increase the burden of heat load on the body by trapping the heat and not allowing the body to cool. It is important for employees wearing PPE, which may cover the upper or lower body or face, not to work alone in warm or hot conditions. When employees wear this type of PPE in these conditions it may require you to take additional steps to prevent heat illness including (but not limited to):

  • Monitoring employees more frequently
  • Having employee take more frequent breaks to remove their PPE to cool down
  • Ensuring employees drink more water
  • Providing effective cooling measures (see Shade and Other Cooling Measures)
  • Adjust work schedules and activities (see Work Severity and Duration)
  • Seeking additional help from qualified professionals

Note: Employees applying pesticides and wearing PPE must follow all applicable regulations including, but not limited to T3 CCR 6724(b)(9), 6738(g).