Workers become overheated from two primary sources:
- 1. The environmental conditions in which they work; and
2. The internal heat generated by physical labor.
The heat index can be used to help determine the risk of heat-related illness for outdoor workers, what actions are needed to protect workers, and when those actions are triggered. Depending on the heat index value, the risk for heat-related illness can range from lower to very high to extreme. As the heat index value goes up, more preventative measures are needed to protect workers.
|Heat Index||Risk Level||Protective Measures|
|Less than 91°F||Lower (Caution)||Basic heat safety and planning|
|91°F to 103°F||Moderate||Implement precautions and heighten awareness|
|103°F to 115°F||High||Additional precautions to protect workers|
|Greater than 115°F||Very High to Extreme||Triggers even more aggressive protective measures|
Heat-related illnesses (heat stroke and heat exhaustion are the most serious) occur when the body is not able to lose enough heat to balance the heat generated by physical work and external heat sources. Helping your body maintain a stable internal temperature is vital in avoiding a heat-related illness. Once the air temperature gets near or above normal body temperature the blood circulated to your skin can’t lose heat. This causes you to sweat, but that’s not enough to cool your body if the humidity won’t allow the sweat to evaporate.
Surprisingly, OSHA does not have a specific standard that covers working in hot environments. Nonetheless, under the OSH Act, employers have a duty to protect workers from recognized serious hazards in the workplace, including heat-related hazards.
Creating cooling stations with either spot coolers or misting fans is a very cost-effective way to help prevent heat-related illnesses. When the body becomes overheated and can’t cool itself, cool air and water are essential to alleviate and prevent the worsening of heat-related symptoms.
Cooling stations are not only preventative measures but they can also provide for a quick response in case there is a heat-related emergency on a work site.
Setting up spot coolers and or misting fans has never been easier! Because our units are on wheels, you can control the direction of breeze and mist to provide relief where you need it. Most of our portable products require a common 120V electric circuit. All our portable misting fans allow you to use a standard garden hose connection for easy hookup. Contact us to learn more!