Friday, June 5, 2015

Heat Illness Prevention - Acclimation

Acclimation, or acclimatization is so much more than just throwing your employee out in the heat and waiting for him or her to toughen up. It is a slow process that actually triggers chemical changes in the body, and it can be very dangerous if skipped or rushed. 

Our bodies are designed to work perfectly in whatever environment we are in - that's why people living in high altitudes have adapted to using less oxygen for their everyday tasks since less oxygen is available for them. People who live or work in high heat environments can only do so comfortably because their body has adapted to release heat more quickly and retain electrolytes more efficiently. Employees who are not used to working in high heat situations MUST be acclimated first or their body will not be as efficient and heat illness will follow.

Heat acclimatization requires about two weeks of regular work for at least two hours per day in the heat. During this time, employees must be closely supervised by a supervisor to ensure that:
  • Employees are doing the heaviest work of the day during cooler hours.
  • The employee is in the heat for at least two hours each day.
  • Employees build their intensity level up gradually over the two week period.
  • Employees are drinking enough water (about one quart of water per hour).
  • Employees who are not yet acclimated are taking more frequent shade breaks.

After successful acclimatization, the body will react quite differently to high heat situations (although this wont last forever, it takes about half the time to de-acclimate as it does to acclimate). Signs of successful acclimation are:
  • Reduced core temperature
  • Increased sweating
  • Decreased time between starting work and starting to sweat
  • Earlier blood flow to the skin
  • Lower body heat production
  • Lower heart rate
  • Increased thirst
  • Reduced salt and electrolyte loss during sweat and urination

There are many types of heat illnesses, and because they can be deadly it is very important to take heat acclimatization seriously. By protecting your employees you are protecting the most valuable asset to your company. 

To learn about California's heat illness policies, click here. To ask a safety professional yourself for more information regarding heat illness prevention, call (800) 734-3574 between the hours of 8am and 5pm Pacific Standard Time or email

Thursday, May 28, 2015

California Heat Illness Prevention Updates

Just in time for summer, Cal/OSHA made some major changes to their heat illness prevention policies that came into effect May of 2015. What does that mean for your company, exactly? To save you the inconvenience of sorting through this by yourself, EEAP is here to help you out. Basically, Cal/OSHA requires that:

1. Employers must provide fresh, pure, and suitably cool drinking water at no charge. This drinking  water should be provided as close as practical to where the employees are working - it wont do any good 200 yards away. 

2. Shade must be present (as close to where employees are working as practical) whenever the  temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or more. There must be enough shade to cover all employees  who might be using it at any given time. Shade breaks are mandatory, not a preventative measure,  and should not  only be given AFTER employees are showing signs of heat illness! Make sure shade  breaks are at  least 5 minutes long, not including the time required to actually get under the shade.

3. High heat procedures are a little more extensive. Under high heat conditions (95 degrees or more)  supervisors must monitor employees by using one of the following methods:

  •      Visual observation of no more than 20 employees.
  •      Mandatory buddy system.
  •      Regular communication by radio or cell phone.
  •      Other effective means of communication.

4. At least one employee at each jobsite should be in charge of calling for emergency services if  necessary, but if that employee is unavailable, all employees must be encouraged to call emergency  services if somebody is exhibiting life threatening symptoms of heat illness.
5. Proper training is essential when working in areas where heat illness could be an issue. Employers  are responsible for training employees about the symptoms and first aid required for heat illness, the  concept of acclimatization, employer's procedures for reducing the risk of heat illness, and the  employee's ability to exercise their rights without retaliation. 

6. During high heat temperatures, additional training in the form of a pre-shift meeting is required.  This will cover the company's high heat procedures and remind employees of the importance of  taking all required shade breaks and drinking an adequate amount of water.

To learn more about heat illness acclimatization procedures, click here. For more information on heat illness requirements, contact EEAP at (800) 734-3574 or message us at

Monday, May 25, 2015

Simple Way For Businesses to Save $500

First aid kits: not only extremely helpful in tough situations, having one could save you a hefty OSHA fine! In the past, businesses have been fined up to $500 simply for not having a first aid kit that is properly stocked. They must be available, sanitary, and fully stocked at all times to avoid this. 

OSHA recommends that the following be included in your first aid kit:
  1. Small gauze pads (at least 4 x 4 inches)
  2. Two large gauze pads (at least 8 x 10 inches)
  3. Adhesive bandages
  4. One package gauze roller bandage at least 2 inches wide
  5. Two triangular bandages
  6. A wound-cleaning agent such as sealed moistened towelettes
  7. Scissors
  8. At least one blanket
  9. Tweezers
  10. Adhesive tape
  11. Latex gloves
  12. Resuscitation equipment such as resuscitation bag or pocket mask.
  13. Two elastic wraps
  14. A splint
  15. Directions for requesting emergency assistance
If your first aid kit contains drugs, antiseptics, eye irrigation solutions, or proprietary preparations remember that you must have documentation of recommendation from a licensed physician based on the anticipated incidence and nature of injuries or illnesses and availability of transportation to medical care.

For more information on Cal/OSHA compliance contact 
EEAP at (800) 734-3574 or message us at

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