Preventing and Responding to Heat Illness
- What is Required from T8 CCR 3395?
- "Best Practises" - Your Written Program
- I. Effective Work Practices
- II. Real Time Communication
- III. Emergency Response Procedures
- IV. Training
I. Effective Work Practices
6. Extra Measures During Heat Waves
Because of extreme environmental conditions during a heat wave, employees' physical and mental condition can change rapidly into a serious medical condition. The onset of heat illness may be confused with other problems and may not always be obvious before it becomes life-threatening. Therefore, extra measures may be required to prevent and/or respond to heat illness.
Extra Measures During Heat Waves
Extra Vigilance - Real Time Communication and the "Buddy System" - during a heat wave it is necessary to be extra vigilant. Your real time communication system and your "buddy system" are especially important to get more frequent feedback from your employees and supervisors in the field. Then, based on the environmental conditions present and the condition of your employees you can more quickly make the appropriate adjustments, communicate them, and put the changes into place before problems arise or become serious. In a heat wave:
Additional Cooling Measures - Remember that shade is adequate only when it completely blocks the direct sunlight and allows the body to cool. Shade is not adequate when it does not allow the body to cool. In a heat wave air temperatures in the shade may still be extremely high and not allow the body to cool. During a heat wave, you may need to use other alternative cooling measures in addition to shade, (e.g. allowing employees to spend time in air conditioned places or having them spray themselves with water). Provide Cooling Using Alternative Measures.
Additional and/or Longer Rest Breaks - During a heat wave, it is especially important to permit employees the freedom to interrupt work activities to take rest breaks and allow the body to cool. During a heat wave you may need to allow employees to take more frequent and longer breaks. Remember to provide areas for employees to take their breaks which are:
Changing Work Scheduling and Assignments - during a heat wave you may need to put into place one or more or the following additional measures:
Remember, even employees who were previously fully acclimatized are at risk for heat illness during a heat wave. This is because during a heat wave the body does not have enough time to adjust to a sudden, abnormally high temperature or other extreme conditions.
- Encourage employees to eat smaller more frequent meals which reduce the heat the body produces as compared to eating large meals less frequently
- Encourage employees to choose foods with higher water content such as fruits, vegetables and salads