HOW TO SPRUCE UP YOUR
HEAT STRESS PROGRAM
By Gina Duke
Duke Consulting Unlimited
• During the month prior to when
employees will begin to feel
uncomfortable due to heat, add Heat
Stress awareness training to your
meetings, i.e. plant-wide, production,
toolbox, safety, etc. By doing this in
advance of the heat, your employees will
be comforted to know there is a plan in
place, which should lessen the
complaints. It’s a win-win.
• Refresh your first aid responders on how
to handle heat-related illnesses.
• Other Awareness Suggestions
• Consider creative ways to keep the
message in front of them. For example,
purchase large water mugs with your
company logo on one side, and heat
stress prevention tips on the other side.
• Purchase inexpensive analog
hygrometers and place them in
highly visible places throughout
the production floor.
• On days where your Heat Stress
Program will be in effect, make
hourly recordings of both the
temperature and heat
(Tracking this will also be helpful
in worker’s comp cases)
• Along with the hygrometer,
provide a heat index table.
• Pay close attention to the
caution temps in yellow and red,
and make adjustments
As you check your heat index and determine
to utilize administrative controls, consider the
following schedule to the right.
Thresholds can be modified as well as the
various administrative controls. Consider
seeking advice from a medical professional or
industrial hygienist. The example to the right
is ONLY an example.
You may also consider adjusting shift times
to avoid the hottest part of the day.
Note: Because you will be posting the
administrative controls along with the heat
index chart and hygrometer, you will need to
make sure that it is enforced. Supervisors
may try to ignore it in order to meet
production numbers. While that is admirable,
your employee’s safety must be everyone’s
Note: I do not recommend Gatorade-type
drinks. It is not healthy for everyone, nor is it
the right type of replenishment for workers.
Plus, it is not a value-added task for any
department to administer. Lastly, because
many coolers are not properly cleaned, they
can lead to sickness and general disgust,
Administrative Controls for Preventing Heat Stress
Make water coolers available on production floor once
employees begin feeling uncomfortable due to heat, if
not already available full-time.
> 85 Offer Company provided headbands
> 90 Plus Company provided neck coolers
> 95 Plus icicles available on breaks (Gatorade
packets available in First Aid area)
> 100 Plus extend breaks by 5 minutes
> 105 Plus hourly water replenishment break(s) in
cooler break area; this is not a smoke break. All
employees must come to the cool break area and drink
at least 1 cup of water; however, more is recommended
> 110 All the above plus extend scheduled breaks by
another 5 minutes in cool break area. Rotate workers
out of critical areas. Consider ceasing production.
* Showers are also available for cooling off in
restrooms (then put on cool, clean and dry clothes)
• Take all complaints of heat stress
related symptoms seriously
• Move employee to cool area or first
• Provide water and a wet towel
• Call for certified Frist Aid
• Follow all first aid treatments
Note: I did away with all Gatorade
coolers, and only provide water on
the floor. I do however keep single
use Gatorade packets on hand to
provide employees upon request.
Author’s Note: I once had a middle-aged woman faint at work on a
mid-summer’s day. She was treated and it was deemed heat-related.
The problem with this diagnosis was that she worked in a
temperature controlled environment.
Although it was a little warmer in the plant than usual, temperatures
were not even in the caution zone of the heat stress index. The
employee simply stated to the doctor that she felt overheated and
therefore, the doctor deemed it as a heat stroke.
One year later, this woman was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
When diagnosis like this do not match the circumstances, consider
discussing with employee and suggest they may want to consider a
second opinion with their own private physician.
This presentation is for personal enjoyment only. The views
expressed are those of the author’s alone, and should not be taken as
expert instruction or commands. The reader is responsible for his or
her own actions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This slideshow is part of a presentation of the
Chronicles of the Corporate Mom by Gina
Gina is the award-winning author of
Organizing Your Prayer Closet, a blogger and
She also has over 20 years of Human
Resources Management experience in the
automotive industry. She specializes in start-
ups and turn-around/restructuring
management. Her expertise is in
implementing effective safety and human
OTHER TOPICS FROM THE
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