Heat Illness FAQ

If your employees work under extremely hot conditions, their life is in danger. According to the law, it is your responsibility to ensure their work environment is at an optimal temperature, which cannot compromise their health. Here are some common questions and answers regarding heat illness that employers should be aware of

Q: What happens to someone who is exposed to extreme heat?

A: When our core temperature is overloaded, heat stroke sets in. While we can cool down a bit by sweating, under extreme conditions, our internal temperature may rise too quickly for the moisture to work. In severe cases, high body temperatures can damage the brain and internal organs, which can prove fatal.

This can also happen if the workplace your employees work in is extremely humid. If that is the case, their sweat is not going to evaporate as quickly as it should, thus preventing their body from releasing heat. Heat stress sets in gradually and your employees may already be under its effects without you being aware of it.

Q: Which employees are susceptible to heat illnesses?

A: Some employees feel the heat more than others. This includes those who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and/or are on medication that worsens the effects of heat. Even if your employees are acclimatized to the heat, if they say go on a vacation or are recuperating from an illness at home, they should be given time to re-acclimatize themselves when they return to work. Otherwise, they will experience heat stress immediately.

Q: How can we improve thermal comfort for employees who wear PPE?

A: Personal protective equipment (PPE) is designed to protect employees from safety hazards. However, if your employees are suffering from heat stress, you should consider other options. For example, consider if they can wear less PPE, provided they are protected. If removing some pieces compromises their safety, remove as many hazards as needed to keep them safe. You should also consider automating tasks that can be automated – if it can prevent heat stress.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in this case. If your employees are at constant risk of heat stress, you should evaluate the risks and create an action plan with help from SIA Insurance Group. We can help you maximize your insurance coverage and reduce risk exposures proactively. Get in touch with us today to complete your coverage assessment.

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