We are nearing the height if the season where heat exposure becomes a safety issue for a fulfillment company. National Heat Awareness Day, which took place in May, anticipated the heat wave that we have been experiencing in the past few weeks. In fact, national news media have brought us quite a few examples of heat as a safety issue with record temperatures in many areas.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) produces standards for employers and education on the symptoms of heat illness. At the OSHA website we find the following on Heat Illness: “Every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in hot or humid conditions. The OSHA Heat Illness Prevention campaign educates employers and workers on the dangers of working in the heat.”
Under the OSH Act, employers are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety and health hazards. This includes protecting workers from heat-related hazards. The OSHA plan includes heat hazard recognition and the provision of water, rest and shade for workers exposed to extreme heat. OSHA lists the illnesses as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat syncope, heat rash and muscle pain or weakness.
The AMS safety team is well aware of heat safety issues, and they monitor for symptoms, staying observant and watchful. They encourage employees to be watchful of each other as well and intervene if they observe symptoms.
In June of last year we produced a blog about fire safety and heat exhaustion. In that blog Matthew Warholy, AMS Safety and Security Supervisor, spoke about how AMS approaches heat safety. Quoting Matt: “…warehouses can become just as hot inside as it is outside. We encourage employees to drink plenty of liquids. Every warehouse has water dispensers and employees can refill their water bottles as much as they’d like. Our receiving teams are unloading trucks that are extremely hot. Sometimes 20 -30 degrees hotter than it is outside. We make sure that those employees are switching roles periodically. We stress the importance of ‘See Something, Say Something.’ If you are feeling dehydrated, speak up. If you see a co-worker with signs of exhaustion or dehydration, say something immediately. A little prevention goes a long way.”
Keeping our employees safe from heat related illness and warding off heat exhaustion through providing ample water, rest, breaks and switching roles is a priority and will be as we move through the hot months to come.
According to Marco Pelaez, VP of Operations, we have been taking some extra safety steps this year to deal with the heat wave. Marco said, “We remind our employees to drink plenty of water the night before they come to work to keep their system hydrated because we know that it is sometimes too late to hydrate the system during the heat of the day. We have also provided every building with a freezer, ice, jugs, and Gatorade (powder) so our employees can consume some electrolytes.”
Thank You Marco!
AMS Fulfillment is a B Corporation, which means that we are committed and dedicated to employee safety. Our Safety Blog outlines the many different practices that have given us one of the best safety records in the industry.