How Workplace Safety Testing Protects Outdoor Workers?

Workplace safety testing helps precent heat-related illnesses.

Outdoor workers face many health dangers while on the job if they do not take the necessary heat precautions. Image Credits: iStock.
Workplace safety testing helps increase workplace illnesses Image Credits: iStock.

T Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) updated laws on August 15 to improve protections for employees working outside, according to this news release. These measures, along with a recently published infographic by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), stress the importance of creating a safe environment for workers, highlight heat safety measures in various industries.

The Importance of Heat Safety in the Workplace

Heat-related illnesses pose serious threats to worker health and productivity. From heat exhaustion to heat stroke, these conditions can escalate rapidly and lead to injuries, hospitalization, or even death. Companies that neglect heat safety can find themselves facing regulatory violations, reputational damage, and employee morale issues.

According to OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention infographic, both indoor and outdoor workers are at risk for heat illness.

However, overheating on the job is preventable. Staying hydrated, taking regular breaks in shaded areas, and wearing appropriate clothing can help decrease body temperatures. There are multiple physical and mental symptoms that appear if someone may be experiencing a heat-related illness or needs medical attention.

Effective communication with supervisors about discomfort or concerns is also crucial. Familiarizing workers and employers with the signs of heat-related illnesses empowers workers to recognize potential dangers early on in themselves and those around them.

Washington L&I Updated Rules

The new measures introduced by the Washington L&I reinforce the need for proactive measures to protect outdoor workers from heat-related illnesses, increasing precautions with rising temperatures.

When temperatures reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit and above, employers must offer paid rest periods, shade or a cooling zone, and a quart of cool drinking water per hour to outdoor workers.

At 90 degrees and higher, with 10-minute paid rest breaks every two hours. At 100 degrees, 15-minute cool-down breaks every hour are required.

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Communication is Key to Staying Safe from the Heat

Collaboration between employers and workers is key to mitigating heat-related risks. Employers should provide necessary training, access to shade, and the flexibility to adapt workloads during extreme heat conditions. Regular assessments of heat stress conditions, as well as implementing engineering controls to minimize heat exposure, are also essential.

Workplace safety in the heat is especially important during the summer months. Amid the high temperatures, workers must stay vigilant about signs of heat illness and its impact on the body.

The Washington L&I’s updated regulations serve as an example of fostering a culture of safety that protects outdoor workers. Adhering to these guidelines means employers are fulfilling their obligations and promoting a healthier environment where worker safety is a top priority.

Contact Laboratory Can Help You

Contract Laboratory can help your company with all types of safety testing by connecting you with our network of certified testing labs. Submit a free test request on our website or call us toll-free at 1-855-377-6821.

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