In the peak of the hot summer season, The Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) is reminding affected businesses and their employees of their continuing campaign to combat heat illness for outdoor workers. In educating employers on the guidelines in place, employees experience a lesser chance of suffering from harsh outdoor work environments.
The following tips exemplify how both keeping your employees safe and complying with OSHA standards can be facilitated using only powerful mobile workforce management apps on your mobile devices.
Inform Workers of the Heat Index
Constant updates from managers regarding the change in temperature of their work site allow outdoor workers to take the preventative measures that are best suited for the specific heat index. These temperature updates can be shared manually when managers check the temperature at frequent intervals and use in app messaging systems to inform affected workers. Another option that is simpler and less time-consuming than manual weather updates is through automated alerts. Alerts can be automated to send out a warning to workers when the temperature reaches a threshold– like in the State of California, where state labor laws require employees to be notified when the temperature goes above 95 degrees.
Provide Water and Reminders
OSHA assigns providing clean, palatable water as an employer responsibility. Businesses should provide their outdoor employees with clear access to water at their designated sites. Aside from providing water, managers are responsible for reminding their workers to drink water throughout their shift. A general guideline for the high-risk level heat index (103 to 115 degrees) is to drink four cups of water per hour. It would quickly become difficult and excessive if managers were to hourly remind each employee to stay hydrated. Instead, using automated alerts through their mobile app, outdoor workers can be notified of a change in temperature and act accordingly, in this case, drink more water, based on the information on heat-related safety they’ve been given.
Provide Access to Timely Medical Service
In the case of a heat illness emergency, medical care should be conveniently accessible for outdoor workers. Through the use of in-app messaging and real time location services, managers can be immediately informed of an incident and seek immediate medical attention. Having the most accurate location of field workers allows first responders to ensure a timely response to a heat-related injury.
Provide Rest Schedules that Account for Changes in Temperature
Periods of rest are highly encouraged by OSHA guidelines, and in states like California, they are mandatory. When the temperature reaches 95 degrees, the employer must ensure that the employee takes at least ten minutes of total break to cool-down every two hours. Having a preconceived rest schedule is important for any business, but having a system that allows you to automatically contact your field workers when a change in temperature requires a change in break schedule offers greater flexibility and caution. Making changes to work schedules to avoid high-risk heat is made easier with the use of app based alerts that can automatically notify mandatory breaks based on weather changes.
Establish Heat Protocol and Encourage Workers to Take Personal Precautions
Businesses should educate their employees on heat illness protocols related to their specific work. Based on the temperature and the specific protocol, employees can responsibly prevent heat illness among themselves and their peers. Automated temperature updates sent to employee phones encourages employees to act on protocols they are familiar with instead of their managers being responsible for constantly reminding them what to do.
Supervise Workers through Constant Communication
OSHA suggests that supervisors check in with heat-exposed employees several times an hour. The ability to message and send pictures, forms, and more in-app allows for constant communication between employees and their managers. Using one app platforms relieves supervisors of the headache traditional means of using multiple devices, numbers, and methods to reach employees often causes. Simple, effective communication that can be enabled at any time is key to being vigilant despite volatile changes in the heat index.
allGeo (previously known as myGeoTracking) is a cloud-hosted, carrier grade location and messaging platform that helps SMB and Enterprise businesses better manage their mobile employees by improving productivity and accountability, while reducing payroll and operations costs with solutions such as GPS tracking & time clock, Lone worker safety, Automation of field activity monitoring, Mobile forms & data collection including signature, notes, pictures, barcode/QR code, etc. The allGeo platform enables these solutions across a wide range of industries such as field service management, trade services, emergency responders, sales reps, transportation & logistics and home health care providers.