Keeping Our Members Safe in the Summer Heat

The UFCW’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Office serves as resource to help locals keep our members safe and healthy in the workplace. As summer approaches, one of those resources includes material to help protect our members from the risk factors associated with exposure to heat and high humidity. This information has proven to be popular with our members, and all locals are encouraged to distribute this material and post it in breakrooms so that our members know their workplace rights when they’re exposed to extreme heat.

The material, which is available in English and Spanish, includes an outline of measures employers should take to protect workers from heat stress and heat-related illnesses, workplace safety strategies pertaining to hot weather, and sample heat emergency procedures.

All workers should have access to:

  • Adequate amounts of drinking water.
  • Regular rest breaks or rest periods in a cool area.
  • Adequate air circulation through the use of air conditioning, fans and general ventilation.
  • Education on the early signs of heat-related illness.
  • Time to acclimatize to the heat. It takes about one week for the body to adjust to working in the heat.

Hot weather safety strategies should include:

  • Training all management and hourly employees with an emphasis on how to recognize a medical emergency (heat stroke).
  • Having a clearly written protocol on how to respond to a medical emergency.
  • Training all management and hourly employees on workers’ right to access drinking water as needed and the right to access bathrooms as needed.
  • Monitoring particularly hot work areas and a plan in place for when the heat index approaches the extreme caution zone.

You can download the following material here:

  • Hot Weather Advisory: Preventing Heat Stress at Work
  • Workplace Strategies for Hot Weather Safety
  • Sample Heat Emergency Procedures

For more info please visit The UFCW’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Office at http://safetyandhealth.ufcw.org/

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