Friday, August 29, 2014

Acclimatization Is Critical to Heat-Illness Prevention, Per OSHA Report

A new report from OSHA published in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report details the critical nature of acclimatization in preventing heat illness.

The report indicates that failing to allow for acclimatization of new employees or employees returning to work after more than a week away was “the most common deficiency and the factor most clearly associated with death” in a study of 20 cases of heat-related illness and death from 2012 to 2013. 

The agency recommends that acclimatization should be comprised of 20% of the usual span of a workday in the hot environment on the first day, increasing the duration of work by no more than 20% each following day. Heat waves or rapid temperature increases should also prompt a reduction in working time, cutting worker shifts—even those of experienced workers—by 50% and slowly increasing duration over the course of a few days.