June 15, 2022

Cities Encouraged to Monitor for Heat Stress

June brings the first day of summer and with it hot weather. The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for this week’s temperatures, which will reach the 90s. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet urges employers to be extra cautious, and the KLC Loss Control Department encourages all KLC members to monitor employees who work outdoors.

The U.S. Department of Labor recommends that all employers establish a heat illness prevention plan and that supervisors monitor employees throughout the workday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a chart to identify the symptoms of heat-related health concerns, from heat rash and sunburn to heat stroke. You can download a copy here.

If you suspect a person may be succumbing to the heat, the U.S. Department of Labor suggests you take the following steps:

  • Take the affected person to a cooler place such as a building with air conditioning or a shaded area; 
  • Use active cooling techniques such as immersing the person in cold water or an ice bath; 
  • Remove outer layers of clothing, especially heavy protective clothing; 
  • Place ice or cold wet towels on the head, neck, trunk, armpits, and groin;
  • Use fans to circulate air around the person; 
  • Stay with the affected person at all times; and 
  • When in doubt, call 911.

Heat illness can strike anyone, even those who work indoors.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has a free mobile app for Android and iPhone users that provides real-time heat index information and hourly forecasts by location, as well as occupational safety guidance and health recommendations. You can find the OSHA NIOSH Heat Safety Tool on Google Play and Apple’s App Store. OSHA also has a heat illness informational work poster that you can download here.

The Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health Program (KYSAFE) has a no-cost online heat stress awareness training module. Additionally, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet will hold a heat stress class at its June 21-24 population center training in Frankfort.