In this Edition... Dog Days of Summer!
Missouri is known for having unpredictable weather, and this year isn’t any different. With high temperatures and drought conditions affecting most of the state, this issue highlights several creative ways to stay cool this summer.
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.
Cool Places to Visit: Missouri Show Caves
Looking for something cool to do with the kids before they head back to school? With temperatures so hot this summer, it has been difficult to enjoy outdoor activities. So why not take the kids ‘inside’ the outdoors to one of Missouri’s show caves?
According to Les Thomas, program manager for the Missouri Mine and Cave Safety Program, a show cave is a cavern or cave that has been discovered, explored, and mapped to be opened for public use and enjoyment. To date, Missouri has 23 registered show caves.
Missouri show caves provide a variety of activities for the whole family. Visitors can learn all about Missouri mineral erosion, which creates features like stalactites and stalagmites (stalactites hang from the cave ceiling like icicles, while stalagmites grow up from the cave floor). They can also experience the cool cave climate and exotic wildlife firsthand.
Unsure about the safety of Missouri Caves? Missouri law requires the inspection of any cave in the state that is open to the public. These caves are inspected at least once a year by the Missouri Division of Labor Standards. The inspections help protect visitors from slips, trips, falls, and harmful air contaminants while they are exploring the cave.
Show cave owners must file a complete map of the cave and provide safety equipment, such as guardrails, bridges, and walkways, before the cave is opened to the public. Many of Missouri‘s show caves are accessible to those with disabilities or special needs.
To learn about the cave inspection process that ensures visitors’ safety, check out this podcast with Denny Mathis, Missouri State Cave Inspector! For locations of other cool Missouri show caves, check out the Missouri Department of Tourism’s cave list and map. Also, take a virtual tour of Jacob’s Cave!
Missouri State Fair - "Celebrate Then and Wow"
The “dog days” of summer in Missouri usually leads to one thing…the Missouri State Fair! And this year, the fair celebrates a special milestone... its 110th anniversary!
Each year families, young and old, come out and enjoy food, carnival rides, livestock exhibitions, demonstrations, and free giveaways! The fair showcases the best of Missouri’s agriculture, from 4-H and FFA youth exhibiting livestock and produce, to vendors across the fairgrounds selling Missouri-made products to eat and drink. And fairgoers always flock to the 400-acre fairground to be entertained by award-winning music artists, truck and tractor competitions, and rodeos!
The fairgrounds have several buildings equipped with air conditioning and fans. But, if you want to check out a really cool spot at the fair, stop by to see the new Show-Me Farm Safety booth in the Mizzou Central (Mo-Ag Theatre) building! Show-Me Farm Safety is an educational campaign created in partnership between Missouri Department of Labor and Missouri Department of Agriculture (see list of all safety partners).
Each day there will be presentations and interactive displays on a variety of topics, including tractor, ATV, transportation, kids, grain, injury prevention, and electrical safety. You’ll get to hear firsthand accounts of farming accidents and how they have impacted the lives of those involved. You’ll also be able to pick up free giveaways in the booth AND enter to win cool Dungarees gear each day of the fair!
Check out the official Missouri State Fair map for a diagram of all the buildings on the fairgrounds, so you can find other places to keep cool while having fun at the fair!