Missouri Workers Feel the Heat This Summer
Missouri’s weather has been a force to reckon with this summer. In July, the statewide average temperature was 83.8°F, which is 6.5° above normal, and most areas reported at least 10 days of triple digit heat. The warmest Missouri summer on record was in 1934, when the average temperature was 81.9°F.
There are hundreds of public works projects underway and other outdoor projects being done in Missouri this summer. As of July 23, 2012, there have been 152 reported heat-related injuries, according to the Division of Workers’ Compensation. (Those injuries include heat exhaustion, overheating, dehydration, or any other heat-related injury.)
If you are an employer, it is your responsibility to provide all employees with a safe environment, even in the sweltering summer heat. To protect workers from heat-related injuries, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says it best in three words: Water. Rest. Shade.
Here are some simple tips to help workers stay cool:
- Provide access to water at all times on job sites
- Schedule several breaks throughout the day in the shade
- Train workers to recognize the symptoms of heat-related injuries, to protect themselves and co-workers
Heat-related injuries can strike at a moment’s notice, so train employees to look out for the following symptoms:
- excessive sweating
- high body temperature
- heat rash (clusters of red bumps on the skin)
For information on the go, check out OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool phone app for current heat index conditions on your job site and receive corresponding risk information, including tips on how to help your crew stay cool.
For a description of other heat hazards, tips for protection, and for cooling center locations across the state, visit the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ hyperthermia page.