June 28, 2012
There's no secret: It's hot out! There have been several heat waves crossing the Corn Belt this summer. We're starting one in Minnesota right now. Ninety-plus-degree temps make for not only uncomfortable, but unsafe working situations. We know there is LOTS to do in the field and outside each day for farmers. But, be sure to take the time to drink water, rest and seek shade when the heat index soars. You'll obviously be more efficient if you rest now and then, than if you suffer from a heat illness and end up inside on the couch for the day.
According to OSHA, last year, thousands of workers in the United States got sick from exposure to excessive heat on the job, and more than 30 workers died. To help prevent such statistics, OSHA has come out with a tool to determine the heat index in your area, and also educate users on different heat illnesses, as well as how to treat them. The Heat Tool app lets you input your local temperature and humidity percentage. It calculates the heat index and risk level, and offers precautions based on the calculations. You can also get the current heat index and the daily max heat index at the touch of a button.
The part of the app I really liked and found useful were the bulleted lists of signs and symptoms for different heat illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash. Also offered are first aid solutions and tips for each of the illnesses.
The app offers tips for ways to avoid heat illness. OSHA reminds you to drink water, know what to do in an emergency, train workers, pace your work, modify work/rest periods and monitor workers.
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