In many industrial applications, workers are exposed to external elements including sun, heat and humidity, particularly summer months. Heat exposure is not limited to outdoor environments, with indoor locations also posing significant risk when workers are confined to poorly ventilated areas, or heat producing settings such as kitchens, foundries, laundries or chemical plants.
Certain environments may require the use of full body PPE to protect workers from additional hazards like liquid chemicals or particulates. This is problematic in higher temperatures because despite an ability to live and function in vastly different environmental conditions, the human body is intended to operate within a very specific temperature – between 36.1 and 37.8⁰C. There are various measures that can be employed to alleviate the risks associated with workplace heat.
While environmental conditions are largely beyond human control — particularly in summer months — safety managers should consider all additional contributing factors. Given the potentially fatal outcomes of heat related illness, workers should be provided with a full range of appropriate safeguards and defence measures to ensure the safest possible working environment.