Preventing and Responding to Heat Illness
Elements of Your Written Program and Effective Work Practices
T8CCR 3395(b) Definitions defines “Temperature” as the following:
“Temperature” means the dry bulb temperature in degrees Fahrenheit obtainable by using a thermometer to measure the outdoor temperature in an area where there is no shade. While the temperature measurement must be taken in an area with full sunlight, the bulb or sensor of the thermometer should be shielded while taking the measurement, e.g., with the hand or some other object, from direct contact by sunlight.
T8CCR 3395(f)(2)(D) states the following:
(2) Supervisor training. Prior to supervising employees performing work that should reasonably be anticipated to result in exposure to the risk of heat illness effective training on the following topics shall be provided to the supervisor:
(D) How to monitor weather reports and how to respond to hot weather advisories.
As temperatures increase and other environmental factors change throughout the workday, employees’ physical and mental state can also rapidly change into a serious medical condition. Therefore it is important to stay alert to the weather.
Check Weather Forecasts
Make sure to monitor the weather at the specific locations where work activities are occurring. Prior to each workday, have a designated person check the weather forecast in the areas of work activities. The weather can be monitored by using local radio and television stations, websites, and electronic or other devices. Some sources to monitor the weather include the:
View extended weather forecasts in order to plan in advance work schedules, know whether high heat is expected and if work activity and schedule modifications will be necessary. This type of advance planning should take place all summer long.
Measure the Temperature at Worksites
Have a supervisor or designated person at each worksite use thermometers to
measure the temperature every 60 minutes throughout the workday.
Continue to stay updated throughout the work shift on the changing air
temperatures and other environmental factors (see
Factors) at work locations.
Remember that the major way the body looses heat is through sweating. High relative humidity reduces the body’s heat loss through sweating. Therefore, during periods of high relative humidity there is a greater risk of developing Heat Illness. An indication of how relative humidity affects the risk of developing Heat Illness is called a Heat Index Value. Heat Index Values or Apparent Temperatures, are given in degrees Fahrenheit and measure how hot it really feels when relative humidity and air temperatures are both considered (see http://www.weather.gov/om/heat/index.shtml#heatindex).
IMPORTANT: Since heat index values were devised for shady, light wind conditions, exposure to full sunshine can increase heat index values by up to 15°f. also, strong winds, particularly with very hot, dry air, can be extremely hazardous.
During high heat (temperatures which equal or exceed 95°F), and where there is a sudden and temporary rise in temperatures above the seasonal average, heat illness can develop even faster.