In Washington State the Outdoor Heat Exposure Rule
goes into effect May 1st until September 30th.
So why talk now about Outdoor Heat Exposure now?
To be prepared to be in compliance when the weather gets warm.
By May 1st employers need to train their workers and supervisors of the hazards when the outdoor temperatures get above the action limits, even if those action limits are only for 1 day.
What are the action limits?
- 52 degrees, If I am working in the outdoor environment and wearing “non-breathing clothes” such as wear vapor clothing or Personal Protective Equipment such as chemical resistant suits.
- 77 degrees If I am working with double layer clothes, such as coveralls, jackets and sweatshirts.
- 89 degrees All other clothing.
Please remember, the rule could apply even in the low 50’s depending on what you are wearing, but typically most workers will not be using this type of gear or clothing.
What should we be trained to:
- The environmental factors that contribute to the risk of heat-related illness
- General awareness of personal factors that may increase susceptibility to heat-related illness including, such as an individual's age, acclimatization, possible medical conditions, alcohol use, caffeine use, nicotine use, and use of medications that affect the body's responses to heat
- The importance of removing heat-retaining personal protective equipment such as nonbreathable chemical resistant clothing during all breaks.
- The importance of frequent consumption of small quantities of drinking water or other acceptable beverages
- The importance of “acclimatization”, i.e. getting used to the outdoor heat. For example, those who live in Eastern WA could be used to working in warmer climates, but those in Western WA are not typically accustomed to working in the warmer climates
- Different types of heat-related illnesses
- Importance of reporting either yourself or you see a co worker showing signs of a heat-related illness and follow appropriate emergency response
Supervisors need to follow the rule
(WAC 296-62-095 through 296-62-09560) and be familiar with its content.
This the safety person’s responsibility, but can be anyone supervising a worker.
Supervisors must respond with appropriate emergency protocol.
Make sure you know where the water is located, drink a lot of water.
Heat related illnesses have been known to kill workers of all trades.
Also, water from a hose is not adequate and needs to be avoided.
Good clean water is required whether from a water cooler or provided water bottles.
Also, important to remember, pick up your water bottles, they can create a tripping hazard if not properly disposed of.
“Quench the thirst – Safety first”,
Let’s be safe out there!!!
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