As a logistics business, you likely operate a large facility where workers are exposed to some tough conditions in the summer. Often, this is unavoidable and even if you try to have a great air conditioning system, the heat and humidity are difficult to keep at bay.
For that reason, it can be a good idea to implement the following heat safety steps this summer:
1) Create a plan for how to deal with heat-related safety issues
Simply put, there is no one-size-fits-all plan for reducing heat-related risks because every business is different, according to Occupational Health & Safety. Therefore, you should look into your unique risk factors - such as parts of the warehouse that get particularly hot or where air flow is minimal - and come up with a plan for how to address them.
2) Do what you can to help workers cool off
You may not be able to keep all your workers in a well-cooled area for their entire shift, but having a dedicated place where your over-exerted employees can cool off is a must, Occupational Health & Safety warned. That can be as simple as a break room or a part of your back office where they can be guaranteed lower temperatures and humidity.
3) Make sure everyone stays hydrated
When temperatures spike, it's more than just the external heat and humidity that can lead to health risks, Occupational Health & Safety further advised. For that reason, you should have jugs of water set up around the facility so that they're easily accessible and workers can replace the fluids they're sweating out.
4) Educate workers about the risks
Of course, workers won't know to stay hydrated and might not always feel like they should seek out a place to stay cool if they don't know why over-exertion in heat is dangerous, according to the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A quick training session should help them better understand the risks involved with pushing themselves beyond reasonable limits.
5) Make sure managers and employees keep an eye on each other
In potentially hazardous situations of all types, it's a good idea to set up a kind of "buddy system" so everyone is being appropriately monitored, OSHA said. Teaching everyone the warning signs of extreme heat exposure will help them identify when a co-worker is in danger, potentially without even realizing it.
6) Encourage workers to wear sunscreen
If you have any employees who spend at least part of their day working outside - perhaps those who work on the loading dock - it's important that they protect themselves from the sun's rays, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Having sunscreen on hand for workers to apply liberally throughout the day will help them avoid sunburns and other health risks.
7) Monitor employees with pre-existing medical conditions
If you have any employees with unique health conditions that could put them at greater risk for sun-related issues, you need to treat them more carefully, the CDC added. Having plans in place for how they will be required to work in extreme heat will help all involved avoid an unfortunate mishap.