SafeRackPlatformSunsetLG

Summer Weather Industrial Workplace Safety Tips

Stay Safe in Severe Summer Weather

With summer in our midst, it’s the perfect time for relaxation or a well-deserved vacation, but it’s also important to remember the hazardous conditions created by summer weather — especially in the workplace.

Not only does warm weather increase the risk of heat-related illness, it also increases the likelihood of severe weather conditions, including hurricanes, thunderstorms, tornadoes, wildfires and more. Let’s take a closer look at the most frequent summer weather hazards and how best to protect your employees.

Summer Safety Tips

Heat and Humidity

Heat-related illnesses, or HRI’s, are a serious threat during warm summer months. If precautionary measures aren’t taken quickly, these HRI’s can quickly escalate from heat exhaustion to heat stroke to possibly even death. An average of 30 people have been killed by heat exhaustion every year since 2003. To protect your employees, it’s vital to know the early symptoms of a heat-related illness, how to prevent it and how to treat it.

Warning Signs:

  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue or headache
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Pale skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

Prevention:

  • Train early and thoroughly: Nearly half the recorded heat-related illness cases occurred during a worker’s first day on the job.
  • Acclimate workers: It’s important to gradually increase your employees’ exposure to warmer work conditions. Don’t let them work outdoors until properly adjusted.
  • Mandate frequent breaks: Cool down and rehydration is critical.
  • Find shade: Make sure shaded areas are within close proximity to workers at all times.

Treatment:

  • Rest in a cool place: Find an area in the shade, or indoors with air conditioning, as quickly as possible.
  • Drink cool fluids: Avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages.
  • Try additional cooling measures: Take a cool shower or bath, or place a cool cloth/towel on your neck and forehead.
  • Loosen or remove any unnecessary clothing: Take off any excess layers, unless they’re preventing sunburn.
  • Check for breathing and keep monitoring: If the person is unconscious, check for breathing and a pulse. Then, begin resuscitation methods as required.
  • Call emergency services or 9-1-1 immediately.
Lightning Safety Plan

Lightning

Of the 25 million lightning strikes that occur each year, about 300 strike humans. Though deaths caused by lightning strikes are very rare, at least one quarter of the survivors experience long-term psychological and physiological trauma. In addition, nearly 75 percent of lightning strikes occur between the months of June and August, so it’s important to take these months seriously. Be aware of the warning signs and prevention tactics.

Warning Signs:

  • Dark, fast moving cumulonimbus clouds
  • Audible thunder
  • Hail of any size
  • Thunderstorm warning
  • Fatigue or headache

Prevention:

  • Avoid: Open spaces, trees, any metal objects, tall or open structures, and water (including pools, rivers or running water).
  • Check forecasts: Monitor local and national weather services and alerts as inclement weather approaches.
  • Seek shelter: Some good spots to wait out the storm include a fully enclosed automobile with the windows shut, large buildings, or places below ground.
  • Hold a “lightning safe” position: Crouch with your weight on the balls of your feet, with heels together, covering ears with eyes closed.
  • If lightning strikes you directly or within close proximity, you may experience hair standing up, tingling skin, a metallic taste, increased perspiration or crackling sounds coming from yourself or nearby objects

Treatment for a Lightning Strike:

  • Administer first aid as soon as possible.
  • Check for breathing and keep monitoring: If the person is unconscious, check for breathing and a pulse. Then, begin resuscitation methods as required.
  • Cover any burns with dry, sterile dressing.
  • Call emergency services or 9-1-1 immediately.
Flood Safety

Flooding and Hurricanes

Regardless of climate, flooding takes place in every corner of our country. Whether from rain, tidal surges, rising rivers or water structure failures, the impending flood damage is always a serious threat. During the tropical months of summer, heavy rainfall and violent rainstorms are much more likely. With nearly 200 deaths per year attributed to floods, your employees must take the steps to prepare for flooding.

Warning Signs:

  • Any amount of rainfall (not just heavy)
  • Local dam or levee failure
  • Rainfall coinciding with tidal surges
  • Unusual tidal patterns caused by storms
  • Ice or snow melting at high rates
  • Flood warnings provided by weather services

Precautionary Measures:

  • Never go into work if your commute takes you through potential flood hazards
  • Seek high ground immediately: Bring all emergency equipment or important objects to the highest level of a solid structure.
  • Turn around, don’t drown: Never drive into standing water. Cars can be moved in under 12 inches of water, and people can drown in less than an inch of water.
  • Unplug: Turn off all electrical appliances, electricity and gas if possible.
  • If higher ground is required, have several emergency evacuation routes mapped out.
  • Always keep emergency first aid kit handy.
  • Take headcount: Do this before and after leaving any area.

After a Flood:

  • Return home only when clearance is given from authorities.
  • Avoid areas with remaining floodwaters or floating debris.
  • Avoid standing water: Electrical charges may remain active from underwater sources.
  • Keep accurate track of head count.
Summer Weather Wildfire Safety Plan

Wildfires

Although wildfires remain one of the least common causes of weather-related fatalities, the overall warming of our nations climate has made this threat much more severe. From 1990 through 2014, wildfires caused 444 fatalities in the United States. The top four categories of these deaths were, in decreasing order, medical issues, aircraft accidents, vehicle accidents and entrapments. By learning the standard precautionary procedures for wildfires, you can save your life, and the lives of your employees.

Planning for your Business:

  • Have an evacuation plan mapped out for your employees, including routes and exits.
  • Establish a chain of command among one another, including emergency functions and who should perform each.
  • Keep a headcount of employees as frequent as possible.
  • Practice your evacuation routine regularly.
  • Establish safety zones: If your business is located in an environment susceptible to wildfire, create at least one thirty-foot safety zone, free from any combustible material or vegetation. It’s recommended to establish a secondary safety zone as well.
  • Keep things clear: Frequently remove vines, vegetation and combustible materials from your place of work.