Safety in the Summer Heat


Strong safety plans are built on documented procedures communicated across the organization. Your heat stress safety plan should give employees the information and resources they need to protect themselves and each other.

It’s no surprise Texas claimed five of the top six spots on a list of “hottest hottest cities in the United States.” But to be clear, our summers aren’t hot. Conditions between June and September are better described as sweltering, sizzling, or scorching.

Summer also happens to be when school floors are stripped and waxed, classrooms are deep-cleaned, and straggling work orders are tackled. Heat, humidity, and physical work can collide and cause heat stress in employees tasked with preparing facilities for the fall semester.

Heat stress at a glance

One July morning, a 42-year-old roofer told his family goodbye and left for his third day on the job. His employer provided plenty of water, ice, and sports drinks at the site. What they didn’t provide was a formal safety plan.

That afternoon, the man told his co-workers he felt hot and sick. He later died of heat stroke.

Heat stroke is the deadliest form of heat-related stress. Heat stress happens when temperature and humidity prevent sweat from evaporating. The body can’t cool itself, so our core temperature rises. Symptoms can include thirst, fatigue, cramps, skin irritation, confusion, nausea, and tragically, death.

It’s getting hot(ter) out here!

Heat stress consistently leads the pack when it comes to weather-related fatalities. If a 2020 Texas A&M study is accurate, no relief is in sight for the Lone Star State.

The study notes the number of 100-degree days in Texas has more than doubled during the past 40 years. That figure could double again by 2036, largely because of climate change.

This article was re-published in part from the InsideRM blog. Read the full article, published June 27, 2022 here. It includes the core elements of heat stress safety plans.

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