Acclimatizing Workers to Heat

Susceptibility to temperature-related disease may differ widely between individuals. When confronted with warm conditions for many days, individuals become gradually acclimatized. Physical improvements in blood vessels along with perspiration work to dissipate body heat more effectively. In working conditions where the heat index is large, special precautions are needed to protect un-acclimatized individuals while they acclimatize to the conditions. These precautions are especially important during the first couple days on the job.

Develop a heat acclimatization program and plans that promote individuals to work continuously at a sustainable rate during times of high heat. With working with new employees or workers who have recently taken prolonged time off from work, each individual must start with 20% of a normal work load for the first day. Each of the following days after the first, the employee is allowed to receive a work increase is no more than 20% daily.  When weather patterns lead to a quick change into excessively hot weather, all workers, including very experienced ones, should work at 50% of the normal work load in the first day of the heat wave, increasing to 60% on the second day, 80% on the third day and 100% by the fourth day. Complete acclimation may take up to two weeks for some employees. Acclimation time can change depending on an individual’s susceptibility for heat illness, medications they are taking, medical limitations, or the heat intensity of the environment they work in.

Work/Rest Schedules Are Important to Combat Heat Stress

The risks of heat stress  are increased when working and being exposed to heat for lengthy intervals throughout a day. To combat these risks, employees should, whenever possible, spread their workload evenly throughout the day, incorporating work/rest cycles. These cycles provide a workers body with the chance to expel extra heat, reduce interior body heat, slow down their heart rate, and increase higher blood flow towards the skin.

Crystalline Silica and Silicosis

Silicosis is a potentially dangerous but preventable occupational lung infection caused by inhaling respirable particles containing crystalline silicon dioxide (silica). Quartz, a form of crystalline silica, is the second-most plentiful mineral inside the earth’s crust. 

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the Indoor Environment

VOCS: volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are carbon-containing organic chemicals—many of which can be present in indoor in low concentrations. Indoor sources include building materials, furnishings, consumer products, tobacco smoke, and indoor chemical reactions (spontaneous chemical reactions between oxidants such as ozone and various common indoor chemicals in indoor air or on indoor surfaces). VOCs from attached buildings such as auto repair shops and dry cleaners may also enter indoor living spaces, as can outdoor air, also a source of pollutants containing VOCs. VOCs may be odorous and some VOCs are known or suspected to cause a variety of adverse health effects.

Hospital Surfaces Host for the Ebola Virus?

The Ebola virus can live on surfaces in hospitals for almost two weeks, a brand new study indicates. Researchers examined how long the Ebola virus could survive on plastic, stainless steel and Tyvek, a material used in the personal protective suits used for Ebola. In general, the virus survived on surfaces for a longer time when in the climate-controlled conditions rather than in the West African surroundings, the study found. The longest the virus managed to survive in the tropical states of the West African environment was three days, on Tyvek.

OSHA HazCom Deadline June 1, 2015

The long anticipated OSHA Hazard Communication deadline of June 1, 2015 is fast approaching and companies are scrambling to get their container labels and safety data sheets (SDS) completed.  Of course we’ve known about the deadline for 3 years, so it shouldn’t be a surprise.  Yet it seems that some companies have procrastinated so that they and their customers will not meet the deadline.