OSHA Tips for Working in Extreme TemperaturesJuly 22nd, 2020 by Tara Taffera
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 window film industry, tinters are busy doing installations, and in window film plants they often deal with hot and muggy conditions.
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.
According to Elizabeth Dillion, Maxpro Manufacturing sales and marketing executive vice president, the company’s customers and installers alike mostly talk about drinking lots of water and getting plenty of rest at night.
Eastman’s Technical Services Team suggested tips for window film installers working in rising temperatures. Their tips include:
- Having climate control in tint bays creates a more productive environment and allows installers to work in comfort. Portable floor units are affordable and easy to install. Dropping the temp in the bay by 10 degrees can make all the difference in installation outcome as well as team morale.
- If your shop does not have A/C, consider running the car A/C while doing the back window to get some relief.
- Wear comfortable, but professional looking clothing. Running shoes, shorts and branded dri-fit shirts will help to keep you cool and allow mobility as you climb in and out of the vehicle.
- Cooling towels are reasonably priced and can make a huge difference.
- If there is no fridge in the shop, keep a cooler full of ice for drinks or refreshing cooling towels.
- Keep customers’ cars in the shade if possible so they are somewhat cooled off before pulling them in for work.
- Drink a lot of water or Gatorade to help replenish. Limit energy drinks and sodas that can be dehydrating.
- Take breaks when you feel over-heated and cool off in the showroom.
Additional safety tips include:
- Holding a knife with sweaty hands can be dangerous. Use extra caution and dry your hands frequently if working in a hot bay.
- Be careful of liners falling on the floor, which become very slippery and can create tripping hazards.
- Also be cautious of extension cords. Sometimes installers let their heat guns lay on the cords therefore burning them and causing electrical shorts that can cause shocking.
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.