With temperatures soaring across the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds companies to protect workers during heat exposure, both indoors and out. In the auto glass industry, technicians are busy doing installations, and in glass plants they often deal with hot and muggy conditions as well.
Millions of U.S. workers are exposed to heat in their workplaces, says OSHA. Although illness from exposure to heat is preventable, every year, thousands become sick from occupational heat exposure, and some cases are fatal.
“The most important thing to do when working in the heat is to stay hydrated,” said Aric Haarala, Glass Mechanix sales and business development vice president. “In addition to that, getting out of direct sunlight is extremely helpful, [auto glass technicians should also] consider asking customers to park their car in a covered area whenever possible or a shaded area if it is available as an alternative.”
Haarala suggests technicians bring their own portable shade for mobile repairs and replacements if parking in the shade is not available. Korey Gobin, Delta Kits sales manager, agrees with auto glass technicians staying hydrated and even had additional recommendations.
“Try to wear light-colored loose-fitting clothing and safety sunglasses,” said Kobin. “It’s also important to know your own limits and ability so you can pace yourself.”
Occupational risk factors for heat illness include heavy physical activity, warm or hot environmental conditions, lack of acclimatization, and wearing clothing that holds in body heat, according to OSHA.
Hazardous heat exposure can occur indoors or outdoors, and can occur during any season if the conditions are right, not only during heat waves, OSHA warns. Following are some tips on protecting against the heat.
- Consume adequate fluids (water and sport drinks);
- Work shorter shifts if possible;
- Take frequent breaks; and
- Identify any heat illness symptoms quickly.
For additional guidance on how to protect you and your employees from heat stress, click here.