Summer Temperatures and Protecting Workers from Occupational Heat Exposure

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Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

The American Board of Industrial Hygiene® (ABIH®) reminds workers and industry of the need to protect employees from the dangers inherent in hot outdoor and indoor environments.

Lansing, MI, June 14th, 2018 -- Even though the official arrival of the first day of summer is not yet upon us, outdoor workers in many parts of North America have already been dealing with hot and humid temperatures. In fact, Cal/OSHA published a news release over two months ago reminding employers to plan for and prevent heat-related illnesses in order to protect outdoor workers.

 

This is critically important as there are millions of outdoor workers susceptible to heat–related illnesses and many other employees routinely work in hot, indoor conditions where they are subject to the effects of radiant heat sources, physical activities, or coming in physical contact with heated objects. Occupations where personal protective equipment (PPE) is required can be especially challenging when working in these hot conditions.

 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states, “Heat-related illnesses can be prevented. Important ways to reduce heat exposure and the risk of heat-related illness include engineering controls, such as air conditioning and ventilation that make the work environment cooler, and work practices such as work/rest cycles, drinking water often, and providing an opportunity for workers to build up a level of tolerance to working in the heat. Employers should include these prevention steps in worksite training and plans.”

 

“While there are currently no specific OSHA standards for occupational heat exposure, under the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are required to provide their workers with a place of employment that is free from recognizable hazards that are causing, or likely to cause, death or serious harm,” said Jeffrey Miller, CIH® and Chair of ABIH®. “Certified Industrial Hygienists are uniquely qualified to help avert occupational heat-related illnesses as they are trained to recognize and prevent conditions involving heat stressors. This knowledge, along with additional core competencies that include engineering controls and ventilation, health risk analysis and hazard communication, and work environments and industrial processes, is instrumental for mitigating thermal stressors and ensuring a safe work environment.”

 

To learn more about the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®, the Certified Industrial Hygienist® credential, or to locate a CIH® to perform industrial hygiene services, please visit www.ABIH.org, email abih@ABIH.org, or call (517) 321-2638. 

 

About the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®

Since 1960, ABIH®, a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world's largest organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH® is the premier credentialing body responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance, and ethics enforcement. Currently, more than 6900 people in 32 countries are certified to use the CIH® credential. ABIH® also administers the Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP®) credential for established environmental practitioners and the Environmental Professional In-Training (EPI) designation for early-career practitioners.

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