Health & Safety - Heat Stress Disorders Although summer heat is the largest cause of heat stress disorder, it may also occur when workers are exposed to confined areas such as pipelines, shipboard spaces with limited ventilation, and any confined area involving welding or cutting. Symptoms The symptoms of heat stress disorders are very slow to start, but increase in intensity if precautions are not taken. The onset of the initial symptoms are mild and usually involve headaches, thirst, and tiredness. Heat stress can move to heat stroke, a life-threatening medical emergency, quickly when the body's natural cooling system breaks down and causes the...

Skin Protection Should be a Priority Skin protection is a necessity. The skin is the single largest organ of the body. The skin, when healthy, protects us from chemical, physical, and biological hazards. Skin weighs about 10% of our total body weight and is approximately one-eighth of an inch thick. The skin is made up of two layers, the epidermis (outer layer) and the dermis (inner layer). The outer layer of skin is only 1/250th of an inch thick and is the part of our skin that forms the protective barrier. There are many skin irritants that employees may be exposed to...

IT IS HOT! Preventing Heat Stress Wow! What a scorcher! You knew it was going to be a hot day but with this humidity it has to be 105° F outside. You reach for that power tool to finish your job and start to feel lightheaded. It's probably because you haven't eaten much this morning. You can make it until lunch! Time passes and your condition hasn't gotten any better-in fact it's worse! Your breathing has increased, you're sweating profusely, and your mouth is dry. Something's wrong! You start to climb down the scaffolding but you're almost too weak to move. You...

Landscaper Safety A landscaper works outdoors to maintain and beautify the scenery. Their work involves tasks that could prove hazardous: electric and gas power tools, ladders, mowers, noise, sun, and weather exposure. It is prudent for landscapers to cultivate safety while they plant and prune the pansies. Landscapers use powered equipment such as trimmers, mowers, and chain saws to trim and prune grass and plants. Inspect these tools each time you use them to ensure that they are in proper working order. When using flammable fuels, ensure that the storage containers are approved for flammable liquids. Practice safe handling by limiting container...

Heat Exhaustion During summer months we can be exposed to heat exhaustion. Excessive heat causes accidents in many ways. It becomes more difficult to concentrate on the job, you sweat, you get tired and nervous, and begin making errors in judgment. When the temperature exceeds 90 degrees, everyone needs to be aware of the danger signs. Heat Stress Everyone is at risk Drink plenty of water Take frequent breaks in a cool, shaded area Schedule strenuous tasks for earlier in the day Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine Know the signs and symptoms of heat stress, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and...

Asphalt Worker Safety Asphalt is used for paving and surfacing roads, roofing, concrete work, and paints. It is made from petroleum products and is usually heated between 150-200 degrees F. Asphalt is often mixed with solvents (diesel, kerosene, naphtha, toluene, and xylene), binders, hardening and bonding agents (resins), crushed rock, sand, and recycled rubber. Exposure to asphalt fumes can cause serious health effects, so get training, and use safe work practices. When asphalt is heated, the fumes can cause coughing, a scratchy throat, or lung irritation. Long-term exposure can lead to bronchitis or emphysema. Asphalt additives may create vapors that can cause...

Sun Protection, No Skin off your Nose A suntan may look and feel good, but the sun’s rays can cause serious problems, when exposure is excessive. Radiation from the sunlight damages the skin. Besides sunburn it has been known to cause various types of skin cancer, including deadly melanomas. Having tanned or naturally dark skin does not eliminate the need for sun protection against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. The best precaution is to stay out of the sun as much as possible, but if your job requires you to be outdoors in the sun, wear sunscreen and cover your skin...

CAL/OSHA Heat Stress Changes Over the objections of employer groups and applause from labor representatives, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board approved major revisions to the state's heat illness prevention standard. Executive Officer Marley Hart said the board would request an early effective date for the revisions from the Office of Administrative Law – April 1 instead of July 1. That means that employers must revise their heat illness programs and train employees on an accelerated schedule, with barely five weeks before the changes become enforceable.  Under normal circumstances, the changes would trigger on July 1, as OAL sets effective dates quarterly and April...

Summer Alert - Heat Stress The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced the launch of its annual Campaign to Prevent Heat Stress in Outdoor Workers. For the fourth consecutive year, OSHA’s campaign aims to raise awareness and educate workers and employers about the dangers of working in hot weather and provide resources and guidance to address these hazards. Workers at particular risk are those in outdoor industries, such as agriculture, construction, landscaping and transportation. “Heat-related illnesses can be fatal, and employers are responsible for keeping workers safe,” says U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Employers...