Summer Temperatures Bring Thermal Stressor Risks to Many Workers
The American Board of Industrial Hygiene® (ABIH®) reminds workers and industry of the many dangers inherent in working in hot conditions.
Certified Industrial Hygienists are uniquely qualified to help prevent heat-related illnesses in the workplace.
With the first day of summer only a week away, many workers in the Northern Hemisphere have already experienced hot weather in their daily routines. Each year, workers in a wide range of industries become sick due to heat-related illnesses and in some extreme circumstances may even die.
Heat-related illnesses and deaths are entirely preventable and employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment for all their workers. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “Employers should establish a complete heat illness prevention program to prevent heat illness. This includes: provide workers with water, rest and shade; gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks for new workers or workers who have been away for a week or more to build a tolerance for working in the heat (acclimatization); modify work schedules as necessary; plan for emergencies and train workers about the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and their prevention; and monitor workers for signs of illness. Workers new to the heat or those that have been away from work and are returning can be most vulnerable to heat stress and they must be acclimatized.”
High temperatures and humid conditions can quickly cause heat-related illnesses, especially during the summer months. Workers exposed to direct sunlight often experience an increased heat index value of up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Heat-related illnesses can range from heat rashes and cramps to exhaustion and even heat stroke,” said Nicole Greeson, CIH® and Chair of ABIH®. “Certified Industrial Hygienists are uniquely qualified to help prevent heat-related illnesses in the workplace. CIHs are trained to recognize and prevent conditions involving heat stressors along with additional core competencies that include engineering controls and ventilation; health risk analysis and hazard communication; and work environments and industrial processes. These are instrumental for ensuring a safe work environment that will not expose workers to excessive heat stressors that can lead to illnesses and death.”
To learn more about the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®, 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, premier organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH® is responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance and ethics enforcement. Currently, more than 6800 people are certified to use the CIH® designation.
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