RCMA Recognizes OSHA Inaugural Safe and Sound Week

To show its commitment to safety and health programs, the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) recognizes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) inaugural Safe + Sound Week.
 
OSHA Safe and Sound Week takes place June 12-18, 2017, and encourages organizations to hold events that center around three core elements: Management Leadership, Worker Participation, and Finding and Fixing Hazards. Safe and sound events have been scheduled across the country by a variety of different organizations.
 
Safety and Health programs are essential because they can prevent workplace hazards. Identifying potential sources of injuries or illnesses and establishing procedures to fix them helps ensure the safety and health of workers and improves sustainability in the workplace.
 
It is important to engage workers across all levels of the workplace in order to increase the flow of knowledge and communication across management sectors.
 
“Sound Week represents a nationwide effort to raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs that include management leadership, encourage worker participation, and employ a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in the workplace before someone is injured,” says RCMA Executive Director Matt Coffindaffer. “RCMA and its members value workforce safety and welcome this opportunity to collaborate with OSHA and the other sponsors of Safe + Sound Week.”
 
All participants can promote their commitment by using the hashtag #SafeAndSound on social media. Participants are also encouraged to share photos from Safe + Sound events, certificates of recognition, or their own injury and hazard prevention efforts.
 
For a list of Safe + Sound Week events around the country and to learn more about OSHA’s commitment to a safe workplace and sound business, please visit here.

RCMA Supports Campaign to Prevent Fall Fatalities and Injuries

To increase awareness of construction fatalities caused by falls from elevation, the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) recognizes and supports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) awareness campaign to prevent fall fatalities and injuries.
 
Falls from elevation are a leading cause of death in the construction industry, and labor statistics indicate that the number of fatalities and injuries from falls have risen in recent years. Lack of proper fall protection is the most frequently cited OSHA violation.
 
OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down Campaign takes place May 8 – 12, and will ask employers and workers to voluntarily devote work time to discuss safety hazards, protection, and fall prevention initiatives. Stand-Down events have been scheduled in all 50 states by a host of industry, community, educational, and nonprofit organizations.
 
RCMA recommends that roofing inspections be performed by a roofing professional authorized and capable of making repairs. If homeowners or in-house staff are conducting inspections, they should always first attempt to observe the roof from the ground. Maintenance, repair, and coating applications should be coordinated by a properly trained building owner or by an experienced roof coatings applicator.
 
“OSHA’s Safety Stand-Down highlights the safety risks inherent in roofing where specialists routinely perform high-elevation work,” says RCMA Executive Director Matt Coffindaffer. “We encourage RCMA members to participate in this event by taking a moment to emphasize safety issues and preventative practices, educate others about best practices, and open a dialogue with all shareholders to ensure a safe workplace environment.”
 
Stand-Down participants can use the hashtag #StandDown4Safety on social media to help raise awareness for OSHA’s safety awareness campaign. Participants can also share photos of Stand-Down events, certificates of participation, or highlight their own fall prevention efforts.
 
To learn more about OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down campaign to prevent falls in construction, please visit the website

Duro-Last Oregon Plant Receives Safety Certification

Duro-Last Inc. has announced a local award and national safety certification received by its Grants Pass, Ore., manufacturing facility.

In late January 2017, Duro-Last received the 2016 Business Excellence Award from the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Organization (OSHA) presented the Oregon facility with the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Site certification in November 2016.

According to Colene Martin, president/CEO of the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce, “The Business Excellence Award is given to a chamber member who has a record of dependability, success and leadership. The criteria for selection include business character, business excellence, customer relations and community service. Duro-Last not only excels in these areas but also is known for their employee safety standards and the number of awards they have received for it over the years.”

The most recent safety award for the Duro-Last facility is OSHA’s VPP Star Site certification, which is the highest of three designations offered by the VPP.

The VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health, according to OSHA. This is for OSHA’s official recognition of efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. The goal is to encourage private industry and federal agencies to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses through hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training and cooperation between management and workers. The VPP enlists worker involvement to achieve injury and illness rates that are below the National Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries.

Oregon OSHA Director Michael Wood presented the award at the Grants Pass facility.

“We are proud of the work we have done with OSHA, which has allowed us to learn the best practices of other VPP companies and has helped us understand the importance of continuous improvement in safety programs,” says Tim Hart, vice president of Western Operations for Duro-Last Inc. “We thank Oregon OSHA for recognizing the dedication our Grants Pass employees have to safety. Without our employees’ safety mindset, this recognition would not have been possible. We would also like to thank the Oregon VPP team for their encouragement and mentoring.”

This OSHA honor is not a one-time award, however. Retaining VPP Star Site status is an ongoing process, and continuous improvement is expected.

“Duro-Last was the first company in Oregon OSHA history to be awarded the VPP Star level on the first try. This is a milestone,” says Hart. “Usually a company gets the Merit status first, and then needs several more years to complete the application process for Star status. Our team decided to apply for the Star status directly. Our efforts took a little under two years because we had the cooperation and enthusiasm of the entire Duro-Last team.”

The Grants Pass facility will serve as a mentor to other organizations applying for OSHA VPP status. In 2016, Duro-Last was appointed to the Governor’s Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Panel. A graduate of OSHA’s Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), Duro-Last is part of the Southern Oregon SHARP Alliance. Duro-Last also belongs to the Redwood Safety Committee, Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. (SOREDI), and the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce.

“Since the first Duro-Last roof was installed in the 1970s, the company has been on a growth path,” says Hart. “In 1985, Duro-Last expanded into Grants Pass, Ore. In 1987, we purchased 47,000-square-feet of manufacturing and 7,500-square-feet of office space at the North Valley Industrial Park. In 1996, we completed and opened a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. We expanded again in 2006, adding 35,000 more square feet of manufacturing space to accommodate EXCEPTIONAL Metals, a division of Duro-Last. Throughout it all, we’ve remained committed to safety, to quality and to being good neighbors to our communities.”

Hazard Communication for Roofers

To follow the OSHA Haz-Com standard, an employer must develop a written Hazard Communication plan.

To follow the OSHA Haz-Com standard, an employer must develop a written Hazard Communication plan.

According to Paracelsus, the 16th century physician and scientist: “Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.”

If you wash your windows in your house or car once in a while, the glass cleaner is not subject to the Washington, D.C.-based Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Hazard Communication standard, which essentially ensures that information concerning the classified hazards of chemicals is transmitted. However, professional window washers use glass cleaners eight hours per day, five days a week, by the gallons and in stronger concentrations. For these people, OSHA’s Haz-Com standard comes into play and the window washer’s employer is expected to have a written Hazard Communication plan—a list of all hazardous chemicals onsite, Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and the proper container labeling.

In the roofing industry, synthetic roofing materials, asphalt roof shingles, adhesives and treated wood shingles all contain hazardous chemicals. In addition, items roofers use every day, like lubricants, hand-cleaning products, sealants, thinners, coatings, gasoline and diesel fuels, and even fire extinguishers, are subject to the HazCom standard.

In OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards, Haz-Com is almost always No. 2, second only to Fall Protection. Out of 398 inspections in the construction/roofing industry in 2015, OSHA issued 768 citations and collected $443,317 in fines for HazCom. Unfortunately, this number is so high because many companies, who otherwise have an excellent safety record, do not understand or completely disregard the Haz-Com standard.

If OSHA comes onto a company’s site to do an inspection for an accident, a complaint, or a visible infraction, an OSHA insprector may ask to see the Haz-Com plan and the SDSs. To follow the OSHA Haz-Com standard, an employer must develop a written Hazard Communication plan, determine what products onsite may be potentially hazardous, provide a list of all the hazardous or potentially hazardous substances onsite, and locate SDSs for all these products. These SDSs must be immediately available for all employees on the worksite during work hours.

These chemicals must also be properly identified and labeled. Here’s what you need to know:

Safety Data Sheets

SDSs are information sheets for one specific product and have 16 standardized sections. The employer is responsible for having the SDSs onsite.

Labeling

Container labels must be clearly visible, legible and in English. If employees speak a language other than English, that language can be on the labels and SDSs, as well. There are six elements to Haz-Com labeling:

  • The product identifier appears at the top of a container. This is usually the name or code number to the product.
  • Pictograms are a black picture on a white diamond background with a red outline.
  • Pictograms are designed to be easily identifiable to non-native readers. They also make labels more identifiable.
  • The labeling format also includes one of two signal words: “Warning” or “Danger”.
  • Beneath the signal words, there are Hazard Statements and Precautionary statements. The Hazard Statement tells users how the chemical can be a hazard. The precautionary statement tells users how to protect themselves from the chemical.
  • Usually, on the bottom of a label, contact information for the manufacturer, importer and supplier is included.

Training

Training is also important to maintain the Haz-Com standard. Employees must be trained on the types of hazardous materials onsite, the location of the hazardous chemicals onsite, the locations of the Haz-Com plan and the locations of SDSs onsite. Employees must also be trained how to read the labels and SDSs.

Learn More

To learn more about Haz-Com and the toxic substances in roofing, visit the following websites:

Photo: OSHA

NAHB Chairman Issues Statement on Legal Challenge to OSHA Rule

Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill., has issued the following statement on the legal challenge filed by NAHB and several other industry groups against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Labor, regarding OSHA’s final rule called “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses:”
   
“NAHB and other industry groups have joined together to fight this rule. We have opposed this rule from the start, and cannot allow this type of regulatory overreach to occur.”
   
“Among the issues with the rule, there are concerns associated with OSHA’s requirement of employers to submit detailed injury and illness logs to the agency for public posting. Not only does OSHA not have the authority to do this, it also exposes a business to reputational harm, all without demonstrating any evidence that it would reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.
   
“We also have concerns about the anti-retaliation portion of the rule which would allow OSHA inspectors to cite an employer without needing a complaint from a worker–this is an overreach of authority as it goes against Congress’s mechanism to address retaliation that is specifically set forth in the OSHA statute.
   
“OSHA has not justified any of the rule’s requirements with any real benefits analysis and has relied on anecdotal information. This is insufficient and cannot be allowed to stand and potentially serve as a precedent for other agency rules. Workplace safety is of the utmost concern of our members, however this rule is unlawful and does not serve its intended purpose of improving workplace safety. The rule needs to be vacated and set aside in its entirety.”

OSHA Sets Rule for Affordable Care Act Whistleblower Complaints

The Washington, D.C.-based Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a final rule that establishes procedures and time frames for handling whistleblower complaints under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) . The rule protects employees from retaliation for receiving Marketplace financial assistance when purchasing health insurance through an Exchange. It also protects employees from retaliation for raising concerns regarding conduct they believe violates the consumer protections and health-insurance reforms found in Title I of the ACA.

The rule also establishes procedures and time frames for hearings before Department of Labor administrative law judges in ACA retaliation cases, review of those decisions by the Department of Labor Administrative Review Board and judicial review of final decisions.

“This rule reinforces OSHA’s commitment to protect workers who raise concerns about potential violations of the consumer protections established by the Affordable Care Act or who purchase health insurance through an Exchange,” says Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

In 2013, OSHA published an interim final rule and requested public comments. The final rule responds to the comments and updates the rule to clarify the protections for workers who receive financial assistance when they purchase health insurance through an Exchange.

OSHA’s Affordable Care Act fact sheet provides more information regarding who is covered under the ACA’s whistleblower complaints protection, protected activity, types of retaliation and the process for filing a complaint. The fact sheet is available at Whistleblowers.gov/factsheets_page.html.

The High Roofer: Recognize Whether Drug Abuse Is Occurring in Your Workplace

Drug abuse in the workplace is a great threat to the health and safety of American
workers, and roofers are no exception. Roofers have the fifth-highest work-related death rate in construction—about twice the average for all construction (about 50 roofers are killed on the job each year, most by falls). According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the construction industry, including the roofing trade, has the second highest level of alcohol abuse and sixth highest level of drug abuse. (The survey is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.)

Signs and symptoms of drug abuse in the workplace are absenteeism, staff turnover, lower productivity, poor work quality and overall poor morale. These can lead to increased accidents and near misses, theft of equipment and materials, and equipment breakdowns.

In addition, behavioral issues commonly are associated with substance abuse. For example, addicted workers may exhibit a change in attitude or work performance, erratic performance, hangover symptoms and secretive behavior. Other signs include isolation, forgetfulness, indecision, erratic judgment, impulsive and temperamental behavior, changes in personal appearance and hygiene, jitters, hand tremors, hyper-excitability, carelessness, sleeping on the job, trouble with police, aggression and constant illnesses.

If your employees are using, some common sites for drug abuse while at work are lunchrooms and lounge areas, parking lots and cars, remote areas of a worksite, equipment and storage rooms, and restrooms.

Read on to learn about today’s common drugs and identify whether your employees have addictions to these drugs:

Marijuana

Marijuana, also known as weed, reefer, pot, etc., comes from the hemp plant (cannabis sativa). About 10 percent of roofing workers claim to use marijuana. In 1974, marijuana had an approximate 1 percent content of THC (the chemical responsible for marijuana’s high). Depending on the grower, today’s marijuana’s THC content can be between 15 and 22 percent.

Marijuana is highly carcinogenic. One joint is equivalent to 25 cigarettes. It can be smoked, eaten or vaped. Marijuana affects the user’s mental function. Feelings include a sense of well-being, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, depression, apathy, diminished concentration, delayed decision-making, impaired short- term memory, erratic cognitive functions and distortions in time estimation.

Signs and symptoms of marijuana use include impaired tracking, distinctive odor on clothing, decrease in visual functioning and other ophthalmic problems, reddened eyes, slowed speech, chronic fatigue and a lack of motivation. Acute/overdose effects are aggressive urges, anxiety, confusion, fearfulness, hallucinations and heavy sedation.

Withdrawal comes with a loss of appetite, restlessness, chronic fatigue and a lack of motivation.

Methamphetamine

Amphetamine, methamphetamine, uppers, speed, crank and ice are similar in makeup and effect. The second-most widely used drug (after marijuana), meth can come in different colors: white, brown, pink. It can be taken orally as tablets or capsules. Its liquid form can be injected or mixed with other fluids and drank. It can also be snorted as a powder. In its rock form, it can be smoked.

Within minutes after being smoked or injected, users experience an intense “rush”, which is said to be very pleasurable. Although the rush only lasts a few minutes, the effects can last for up to 12 hours and keep users awake and moving for several days at a time. Meth users build up a tolerance, which forces them to have a strong desire for more.

Visible signs and symptoms of meth use are hyper-excitability, dilated pupils, profuse sweating, confusion, panic, talkativeness and an inability to concentrate. Regular use produces strong psycho- logical dependence and increased drug tolerance. High doses may cause toxic psychosis, resembling schizophrenia. Intoxication may induce heart attack or stroke. Chronic users experience increased impulsive or risk-taking behaviors.

Withdrawal causes severe depression. The effects of meth are so potent that there is a 95 percent relapse rate.

Cocaine

Cocaine was once called the “Rich Man’s Drug” because of its short-lived effects. Regular use can upset chemical balance in the brain. It also causes the heart to beat faster and harder. Deaths caused by overdose can occur when taken with depressants.

Signs and symptoms of cocaine use in the workplace include financial problems; frequent absences from work; increased physical activity followed by fatigue, isolation and withdrawal.

Cocaine users usually show increasing secretive behaviors and unusual defensiveness. Other symptoms include wide mood swings, nose problems, difficulty in concentration and dilated pupils. Cocaine addicts exhibit the strongest mental dependency of all drugs, and the treatment success rates are lower than all other addictive drugs.

Opioids

One of the worst drug problems in the U.S. today is the opiate/opioid epidemic. Natural opiates are derived from resin of the poppy plant. However, synthetic opioids are increasingly replacing natural opiates.

Addiction to opioid medications has impacted every level of society. Many people blame the addiction prevalence on health-care providers who are quick to write a prescription for help with chronic pain. An estimated 210 million prescriptions for opiates were dispensed in 2010 alone. According to DrugAbuse.com, examples of opiates include heroin, morphine, oxycodone (trade names are OxyContin and Percocet), hydrocodone (trade names are Vicodin and Lortab), codeine and fentanyl. Frighteningly, prescription opiate abusers are far more likely to eventually develop a heroin addiction than a non-opiate abuser because heroin will offer a similar high at a cheaper price.

Any long-term use puts a person at risk of addiction, even if the substance is used as prescribed. Many people who use opiates will develop a tolerance to them—a phenomenon that can trigger the cycle of addiction. When this occurs, people routinely take more of the substance to elicit the desired response. This ever-increasing dosing places one at great risk for overdose.

Physical signs that someone may be abusing an opiate include noticeable elation/euphoria, marked sedation/ drowsiness, confusion, constricted pupils, slowed breathing, and intermittent nodding off or loss of consciousness. Other signs of opiate abuse include shifting or dramatically changing moods, extra pill bottles turning up in the trash, social withdrawal/isolation, and sudden financial problems.

Withdrawal symptoms from opiates can be extremely severe. The symptoms mimic the flu and include headache, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, fatigue, anxiety and inability to sleep. These symptoms can be so severe that the addict will do anything to feel better.

Don’t Mix Roofing and Drugs

Because falls from roof edges account for half or three-fourths of roofers’ deaths, it’s not difficult to understand why drug use on the job would be concerning. For roofers in residential construction, falls from roof edges accounted for 70 percent of work-related fall deaths and 90 percent of roof fall deaths. These statistics coupled with the statistics on drug abuse in the construction industry suggest that drug abuse possibly may be a contributor to falls.

LEARN MORE

Six Risks You Should Know Before Putting Skylights on Your Roof

Skylights are popular for a reason. They add an extra dash of beauty to any commercial building, and they’re a great source of free lighting. But there are also drawbacks, and, if you’re not aware of them, the costs can end up being far greater than the benefits. Whether you already have a skylight or are considering adding one to the design of a new roof, make sure you’re prepared to deal with the downsides:

  • 1. Leaks
    Skylights are famous—or maybe that should be infamous—for leaking. Over time, the seals and flashing can deteriorate, providing an opportunity for water to penetrate your roof. Things like rain, snow and debris can accelerate the process. Modern skylights are less prone to leaks than older versions, but even the best skylight can leak if it isn’t installed properly.

    There’s an additional leak risk, too: ice dams. Skylights transfer heat to the surrounding roofing material, causing any accumulated snow to melt. That, in turn, can contribute to ice dams, eventually causing even more leaks and adding to the cost of roof maintenance.

  • 2. Breakage
    Even standard roofs are vulnerable to the elements, particularly wind and storm damage, but skylights are even more so. Hail and flying debris, for in-stance, can easily crack a skylight. And, when it comes to snow loads, skylights can be the weakest part of the roof. If you calculate the maximum weight load based on the rest of the roof, your sky-light could fail from the excess weight of a heavy snowfall.

  • 3. Falls
    For workers performing roof maintenance, skylights pose a risk for serious injury, or even death. Some workers simply assume skylights are designed to bear their weight and will intentionally stand or sit on them. Tripping and falling onto a skylight presents yet another risk. That’s why the Washington, D.C.-based Occupational Safety and Health Administration puts skylights in the same category as other open holes and requires that each one is protected by a screen or guard rail that meets OSHA’s regulations.

    However, guard rails aren’t 100 percent safe either. Depending on the quality of the safety net or the weight of the victim, roof-maintenance professionals can fall through just as easily as they would through a skylight.

  • 4. Light Exposure
    While access to free natural light is one of the primary benefits of skylights, there’s also a drawback. Depending on the placement, skylights can actually let in too much light, contributing to glare and excess UV exposure. Not only can that be hard on employees, it can cause preventable damage to furniture, carpeting, art and more valuable items.

  • 5. Energy Loss
    In stark contrast to the lure of free lighting, skylights can have a significant negative impact on heating and cooling costs. Skylights simply don’t present the same barrier to heat transfer that more traditional roofing materials do. In the winter, heat escapes. In the summer, heat seeps into the building—and sun-light and glare only add to that effect. According to the National Fenestration Rating Council Inc., Greenbelt, Md., skylights can cause a building’s interior temperature to fluctuate by more than half the difference between the exterior temperature.

  • 6. Space Constraints
    Skylights take up rooftop space that could be used for equipment or other purposes. To get the maximum benefit of free natural lighting, you need to dedicate 7 to 10 percent of your roof to skylights. That’s space that can’t be used for things like rooftop equipment and supports. It also claims space that might be needed for workers to perform roof maintenance. And if you have a small roof, that is going to be a problem!

There’s no doubt that skylights contribute to a building’s aesthetic appeal, and they can also reduce the cost of electrical lighting. But they have drawbacks, too, and building managers have to consider both aspects to make an informed decision. When considering skylights as part of your building’s future, remember to think about the hidden costs, like increased roof maintenance, heating and cooling, and safety precautions.

How to Prevent Heat Illness in Roofing Workers

Here in the northeastern U.S., the leaves are turning green, birds are singing and the weather is pleasant. Soon, summer will arrive and this nice weather will turn into excruciatingly high heat and humidity. High heat along with high humidity are some of the major causes of fatalities for workers during the hot summer months. According to the Washington, D.C.-based Occupational Safety and Health Administration, between 2008-12, nine roofers died from heat-related illnesses and accidents in the US. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat rash, also known as prickly heat, occurs in hot humid environments. It is caused by sweat not being allowed to evaporate from the skin. It usually occurs in areas of the body where the skin contacts clothing or other skin. Sweat ducts become plugged, resulting in skin rash. Heat rash is more of an annoyance than an illness. The signs and symptoms are usually a painful red rash aggravated by heat, humidity and skin contact. Heat rash, which is often accompanied by infection, is mostly prevented by cleanliness and personal hygiene. The best treatment is to leave hot, humid work environments; allow skin to dry; and bathe regularly. Sometimes baby powder or topical ointments can help.

Heat cramps usually affect workers who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture levels. Water loss affects the capability of the body to sweat and, therefore, regulate body temperature. Low salt levels in muscles cause painful cramps. Sometimes these cramps occur after work hours when the employee is resting because the worker did not replenish fluids after finishing the day’s work. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Atlanta, symptoms of heat cramps are a severe rapid muscle tightening accompanied by pain and spasms usually in the abdomen, arms or legs. Workers with heat cramps should stop all activity and sit in a cool, shady place; drink clear juice or a sports beverage; seek medical attention if the worker has heart problems, is on a low-sodium diet or the cramps do not subside within one hour. Do not return the effected employee to strenuous work for a few hours after the cramps subside because further exertion may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Heat syncope is fainting. Syncope usually occurs after prolonged standing or sudden rising from a sitting or lying position. Factors that may contribute to heat syncope include dehydration and lack of acclimatization. Symptoms associated with heat syncope include light-headedness and dizziness. Workers with heat syncope should sit or lie down in a cool place when they begin to feel symptoms. They should slowly drink water; clear fruit juice, like pineapple juice; or a sports beverage.

Heat exhaustion is the most common serious heat-related illness and is often referred to as heat prostration or heat collapse. If large amounts of fluid are sweated out and/or you’ve been sick, you will be predisposed to this level of heat illness. Signs and symptoms include continued sweating; cool, clammy, pale, and/or gray skin; temperature normal or slightly elevated; weak rapid pulse; dizziness, weakness and fatigue; and uncoordinated actions. Heat exhaustion, which is accompanied by nausea and headache, often leads to unconsciousness. Immediately remove a worker displaying signs of heat exhaustion from the hot environment and have him or her drink plenty of fluids and rest in a cool place. Untreated heat exhaustion cases may lead to heat stroke.

Heat stroke is the least common but most severe heat illness. If left un- treated, heat stroke can lead to death. The signs and symptoms of heat stroke include an elevated body temperature of 105 F or more. The skin of the victim will usually be hot, dry, flushed and red. There is the possibility that the victim will suffer convulsions. The victim will no longer be sweating adequately and may be confused or become unconscious Immediately call for medical assistance. Victims of heat stroke must be immediately removed from the hot environment. Cool him or her down with tepid compresses on the forehead, neck, groin and underarms—areas where blood flow is close to the surface. The cooler blood immediately spreads to the core. DO NOT USE ice water because the sudden change in temperature may result in shock. Begin fanning the victim with whatever is available: clothes, cardboard, etc. Heat-stroke victims will need medical attention; the aforementioned first-aid measures are life-saving tactics to be taken before the worker is transported to a medical facility.

OSHA also says the best way to stay cool when working in hot environments is to be acclimatized to the heat. Workers who start working in April when the temperatures are cooler and slowly acclimatize fare better when the thermometer climbs into the higher numbers. In addition, wearing a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat will keep the sun off workers’ faces and heads. Also, light-colored, loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts slow the effects of the hot sun on the body. The days of working shirtless in the hot sun are over. Not only can sun exposure cause skin cancer and dehydrate a person, it also ages the skin rapidly. Cotton is an ideal fabric to wear to slowly wick away sweat, allowing the body to cool naturally. There are also many new synthetic cooling materials on the market to help keep workers cool
in the hot weather.

Staying well hydrated is mandatory in hot weather. Workers may not be thirsty, but they must continue to drink water, juices or sports drinks every 15 minutes. They should not drink alcohol or caffeinated products. Coffee, tea and alcohol can help dehydrate a worker in the heat. A rule of thumb is to have workers check their urine. If they are not urinating, they need to drink more, and if their urine is dark it is a sign there is not enough water in their system.

Remember working in the heat of summer can be very dangerous. We must protect ourselves, our employees and our coworkers from heat-related illnesses. Watch out for each other out there; remember, “We are our brothers’ keepers.”

Learn More

For more information about heat-related illnesses, visit the following websites:
CDC.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/
OSHA.gov/SLTC/heatillness/edresources.html

Fixed Railing System Provides Fall Protection Around Roof Hatches

The BILCO Co. has introduced its BIL-Guard 2.0, which, like its predecessor, is a fixed railing system that provides a permanent means of fall protection around roof-hatch openings.

The BILCO Co. has introduced its BIL-Guard 2.0, which, like its predecessor, is a fixed railing system that provides a permanent means of fall protection around roof-hatch openings.

The BILCO Co. has introduced its BIL-Guard 2.0, which, like its predecessor, is a fixed railing system that provides a permanent means of fall protection around roof-hatch openings. The new model boasts aluminum construction for increased strength and rigidity, a redesigned self-closing hinge and positive latching system, and stainless-steel hardware throughout. The product is available in mill-finish aluminum and with a safety-yellow powder-coat paint finish. Compliant with OSHA fall-protection standards, the BIL-Guard 2.0 features a mounting system that does not penetrate the roof membrane.