Heat Waves Are Serious Business

Posted by Melodie Elliott on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 @ 05:19 PM

Did you know heat waves are a primary cause of worker heat-related illnesses and fatalities in the state of California? This fact is illustrated in a thorough case study completed in 2006.  The study showed that 84% of the confirmed occupational heat illnesses in 2006 occurred during a July heat wave.

Nationally, Weather.com just last week shared additional information on the magnitude of heat related deaths: https://weather.com/science/weather-explainers/news/weather-event-fatalities-heat. According to the Natioanl Weather Service, heat is the weather event that produces the greatest number of weather related fatalities - even ahead of floods and tornadoes - each year. 

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All of this means that heat waves are not only a serious matter, it is a matter of serious business to your bottom-line by ensuring your workers stay healthy on your job and able to return day-in and day-out. 

Since we discussed in our prior blog this month that Cal/OSHA sets a standard for the nation on worker protection, let's go back to specifics as a good example to follow. In 2006, Cal/OSHA (California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA) mandated regulations aimed at heat illness prevention.  This includes “high-heat procedures” that focus on:

  • Observation – following the weather to know when heat is coming and implementing a buddy system that encourages onsite workers to look out for each other
  • Communication (including pre-shift meetings before the commencement of work to review the high heat procedures)
  • Taking proactive action – encouraging employees to drink plenty of water, and reminding employees of their right to take a cool-down rest when necessary.

A heat wave, especially when temperatures are over 95°F, requires more. This is outlined in section (e) from the Cal/OSHA site: https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/3395.html. To summarize in the most basic terms, it requires California employers with agricultural workers, construction workers, landscapers and any other industry with outdoor workers to provide more than adequate water, shade, rest breaks and training.  This rule applies when temperatures are higher than 80°F degrees, but it should be noted additional requirements apply when the outdoor temperature exceeds 95°F.  At that particular temperature, a more stringent set of rules are in place to prevent heat illness. 

To stand in compliance with these regulations above 95°F, you must have in place “an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP)” as stipulated by Cal/OSHA. Additionally, besides providing water and first aid, “the employer must ensure that the employee takes a minimum ten-minute net preventative cool-down rest period every two hours.  If the workday will extend beyond eight hours, then an additional preventative cool-down rest period will be required at the conclusion of the eighth hour of work; and if the workday extends beyond ten hours, then another preventative cool-down rest period will be required at the conclusion of the tenth hour and so on. For purposes of this section, preventative cool-down rest period has the same meaning as “recovery period” in Labor Code Section 226.7(a).”

Meeting these requirements is part of the fundamentals of being compliant, but employers should also evaluate cooling options to help ensure employees stay safe and productive at higher temperatures. Given A/C is not a practical option outside, utilizing an energy-efficient cooling method such as a portable evaporative cooler may be a viable solution. Evaporative coolers provide natural cooling and can be operated with a generator to deliver a comfortable cool-down space for employees.  Portacool evaporative coolers come in a range of sizes, operate with a standard 110-V and are equipped with heavy-duty castors to provide easy mobility for achieving cooling where it is needed.

Planning ahead makes a difference.  Take the time BEFORE a heat wave hits to plan for protecting your workers. It may be the difference between life and death.

*Article sources:

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/heatIllnessQA.html#item-4http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/etools/08-006/EWP_mwc.htm; https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/3395.html;

Topics: Evaporative Cooler, evaporative cooling, Extreme Heat, @heatstress, #calosha, Heat Illness, heat wave, Cal/OSHA, National Weather Service

The Heat is ON!

Posted by Melodie Elliott on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 @ 01:12 PM

The official start to summer is on Monday, June 20th, but a good portion of the country is going to experience a huge heat wave BEFORE then. According to AccuWeather reports and Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark, the forecast for this week includes historic heat.

Full report here: http://bit.ly/25TH2zp

"Heat will build to dangerous and record-challenging levels in much of the southwestern United States toward this weekend and into early next week.

Temperatures will climb well past 100 F in parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona with the worst days of heat likely from Saturday to Tuesday.

However, the heat will not stop there.

'A truly historic heat wave is likely to bring intense and all-time record challenging heat to a large part of the Southwest this weekend into next week,' says Clark."

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As we talk about regularly, the danger of heat stress and illness is real AND it CAN be prevented with precautions. Remember to protect yourself from sun and hot weather while you’re outdoors. Normally, the body cools itself by sweating, but when the weather is particularly hot and humid, you may not sweat enough to keep yourself cool. When one’s body temperature increases too much, heat-related illnesses can occur.

Here are a few tips  to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this summer:

* Choose your outdoor time wisely. Whenever possible, avoid spending time outside during the hottest parts of the day, typically noon to 5 p.m. Choose outdoor activities that you can enjoy in the early morning or evening, such as grilling or going for a walk. 

* Keep everyone hydrated. When the weather is hot, it’s more important than ever to ensure everyone in the family – from children and pets to parents and grandparents – gets enough water. While outdoors, be sure to have ample bottled water on hand and don’t forget to keep your pet’s bowl filled— especially outdoors.

* Leverage cooling technology to make outdoor spaces more comfortable. Sometimes, you have to be outside during hotter times of day. Keeping cool is key. Portable evaporative coolers like the Portacool Cyclone 1000, use the natural process of evaporation to make outdoor spaces more comfortable during hot weather. As discussed last week, these evaporative coolers move water over evaporative cooling media to produce chilled air that provides a noticeable difference. This can make outdoor spaces such as the patio, deck or garage more bearable in the heat. 

* Seek shade. If your patio or deck isn’t covered, use movable umbrellas or awnings to create plenty of shade. Going to a ballgame or the beach? Take an umbrella to shield you from the sun, or wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face.

* Choose weather-smart attire. When the weather’s very hot and the sun is bright, choose loose-fitting clothing made from lightweight materials and opt for lighter colors. This type of clothing will be more comfortable when you sweat, and lighter colors reflect heat more efficiently. If you’ll be working outdoors for any length of time, consider long-sleeved shirts and long pants in moisture-wicking materials to help shield your skin from sun exposure.

* Don’t overdo it with exercise. While vigorous exercise has many benefits, engaging in strenuous activity in extreme heat can do far more harm than good. If you enjoy an outdoor run or have yardwork to do, try to reserve it for the coolest times of day—early morning and evening. Consider taking your exercise routine indoors to a gym or your own living room when temperatures are very hot.

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Topics: Summer, heat stress, Extreme Heat, air cooler, evaporative coolers, Cyclone 1000, portabable evaporative cooler, portable coolers, Portacool cyclone 1000, record heat

Every Degree Matters

Posted by Melodie Elliott on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 @ 04:30 PM

Heat related illness and deaths are a real concern for employers and workers. According to the National Safety Council, 11 American workers die on the job each day. As we continue to think about safety this month, taking preventative steps to reducing heat related illnesses is key.

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Source: http://www.nsc.org/Pages/safety-at-work.aspx National Safety Council, “Safety at Work”

Heat-related illness can be prevented. Take measures to combat heat-related injuries:

  1. Make sure you have plenty of fluids on hand.
  2. Schedule rest breaks and add a cooling station when possible with tools such as a portable evaporative cooler that works on a standard 110-V from worksites.
  3. Stay aware of conditions with your phone or tablet, especially if working outdoors. Working in full sunlight can increase heat index values by 15°F. OSHA has an app (download info here) to help calculate the heat index for the worksite and helps to identify the risk level.
  4. Be informed by reviewing the heat illness signs and symptoms. Training is this area is worthwhile.
  5. Use a buddy system. Monitor each other for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.

For more information about safety while working in the heat, see OSHA's heat illness webpage and online guidance page for employers that outlines how to use the heat index to protect workers.

Topics: heat stress, Extreme Heat, OSHA, evaporative coolers, National Safety Council, avoid heat stress, NSC, portabable evaporative cooler

Heat is on the way...

Posted by Melodie Elliott on Thu, May 14, 2015 @ 07:00 PM

As we draw closer to June, one thing is certain: the heat is coming! Weather predictions indicate a majority of the country can expect a hotter summer than last. In fact, much of the USA will experience 90°+ temperatures.

Now is the time to prepare for these conditions BEFORE the mercury rises. If you manage work spaces that are open and difficult to cool, or if you are planning significant work outdoors or even entertaining this summer by the grill,  begin assessing your cooling needs now. High temperature environments can contribute to a slower work pace and increase the need for frequent breaks. In fact, studies show that worker productivity will decrease by more than 1% for every two degrees when temperatures rise over 77°F. At temperatures of 92°F or higher, there is a 16.6% decrease in productivity.  And, working in high temperature areas also increases the threat of heat-related illnesses.

Securing effective, affordable cooling solutions ahead of time will be a huge relief when respite from the heat is needed in those hard-to-cool spaces. Consider your cooling options.  Oscillating and ceiling fans simply blow stagnant warm air around.  Smaller fans are portable, but may not be powerful enough to cover a large, open area effectively.  Ceiling fans offer no portability and installation can be costly in an industrial environment.  Misters pose a drenching side effect when used outdoors and often not conducive in a working environment. Evaporative coolers are designed to create a noticeable difference by lowering temperatures by as much as 30°F.  

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Portacool portable evaporative cooling products combine the natural power of evaporation with the highest quality evaporative media to provide maximum cooling efficiency.  The portability of these evaporative coolers is particularly convenient. They can go anywhere they are needed:  in the garage, shop, auto bay, patio or outdoor work area.  As you begin assessing your needs, we appreciate your consideration. When comfort counts, Portacool™ portable evaporative coolers offer the lowest-cost, most effective cooling solution available.

Visit our products pages to check out our portable evaporative coolers to select the product that is right for you.

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Topics: evaporative cooling, heat stress, Extreme Heat, weather, cooling solutions, evaporative coolers, Portacool, affordable cooling

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