Coalition combats industrial heat stress on eight workplace fronts

New National Heat Safety Coalition (NHSC) recommendations span eight areas that participants cite as key to keeping workers in industrial environments safe: heat hygiene and acclimatization; hydration; environmental monitoring; physiological monitoring; body cooling; textiles and personal protective equipment; plus, emergency action plans and implementation.

The country’s first heat safety recommendations and guidance for industrial work were reviewed and accepted by the renowned scientific organization, American Geophysical Union. Led by researchers at the University of Connecticut-hosted Korey Stringer Institute (KSI), the 51-member team that developed the guidelines comprised of NHSC members, doctors, industry leaders, and experts from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the U.S. Military.

Leading into the formal guidance, the National Heat Safety Coalition developed a checklist and other employer resources.

Heat illness is 100 percent preventable, yet 11 workers suffer serious heat-related injury or death every day in the United States, NHSC contends; without federal standards for preventing heat illness on the job, the problem persists. The NHSC is a partnership between Magid, a leader in workplace safety innovations and PPE, cooling textile experts Mission, and KSI to serve as the country’s leading institute for industrial heat safety, research, and advocacy. The Coalition provides heat safety information, education, and treatment recommendations aimed at eliminating heat-related injuries and illnesses in both indoor and outdoor industrial workplaces.

“The group recognized that employers would be reluctant to adopt new policies and procedures if they had an undue impact on productivity,” says Magid Director of Health & Safety Services and NSHC Advisor Matt Block. “The irony of this crisis is that heat illness actually reduces productivity and is completely preventable if employers take some fairly inexpensive measures. The lack of solid national guidelines has been the biggest obstacle to keeping people safer and preventing tragedies.” Approval of Coalition document is the first step in creating a foundation for focused recommendations that consider the particular needs and obstacles that each industry experiences in hot conditions due to location, machinery, and labor difficulty, he adds.

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