Take the steps to acclimate workers to the heat to avoid many issues with heat-related illnesses.
Florida’s heat and high humidity can be brutal in the summers. The humidity of Florida’s rainy season makes it feel much hotter, and workers can be at risk for heat-related illnesses. Once the heat index—the combination of temperature and relative humidity that can make it feel much hotter than it is—is 90 degrees or higher, the risk to workers goes up exponentially. The good news is that the human body can acclimate to hot weather, but there are some important rules to follow.
Acclimating Workers to Hot Temperatures
According to OSHA, the human body can typically acclimate to hot temperatures in five to seven days, though it can take up to two weeks for some people. Basically, the body’s cooling processes become more efficient as workers are continually exposed to hot temperatures day after day.
Acclimating workers to the heat is important so that workers avoid heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Besides having workers be at risk during a heat-related illness, such maladies also result in lost time for both workers and employers.
Acclimating workers to the heat is possible, and the “best practices” for doing so are as follows:
- New workers and those who have been on a prolonged leave or vacation will need to be acclimated to hot weather upon returning to work. That generally means starting off the first day with a 20 percent workload and increasing that workload by no more than an additional 20 percent each day.
- Individuals with certain health conditions, like diabetes, kidney issues, heart problems, pregnancy, and being overweight, will be more prone to heat-related illnesses and will not be able to acclimate as well to intense heat.
- Workers will naturally acclimate as temperatures warm up slowly on a day-to-day basis, but instances of extreme high temperatures, such as a heat wave, can affect all workers. Everyone’s workload should be decreased and their breaks increased during a heat wave.
Tucker Paving offers over 25 years of experience in asphalt and concrete paving in The Sunshine State. In all areas of our job sites, safety is our leading priority at all times. Contact us for your next asphalt or concrete paving job, no matter the weather!