St. Paul, Minn. (June 14, 2017) – July 22, 2016, was a hot day in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. By late afternoon, the heat index had spiked to about 110 degrees. That was right around the time 23-year-old landscaper Tyler Halsey – whose shift had begun nine-and-a-half hours earlier at 7 – succumbed to heat stress. He was hospitalized with a core body temperature of more than 108 degrees and died the next day.
His was just one of 37 workplace deaths recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that were blamed on heat stress nationwide in 2016. And the reality is that the challenges of heat stress are only going to worsen if current climate trends continue.
Heat-related illness is a serious issue for workers, worksite managers, and administrators, but it’s also 100% preventable. To that end, OSHA started an important annual campaign in 2014 to train and educate workers about heat stress management called Water. Rest. Shade.
“Education and awareness are key to prevention,” said Alsie Nelson, product manager, Ergodyne. “Heat may be unavoidable, but with strategic shift scheduling, administrative controls and quality gear, heat stress doesn’t have to be.”
Cooling gear can go a long way in making the workday more comfortable. Good cooling products block the sun, wick away sweat, and cool core body temperature and leading safety manufacturers like Ergodyne are designing and producing a host of innovative heat stress solutions to help employers go beyond “Water. Rest. Shade.” for their workers. Their array of cooling products includes the exclusive dry evaporative technology in their dry cooling vest and new dry cooling hat.
“Companies around the globe should have plenty of incentive to address the hazard of heat stress,” said Tom Votel, president and CEO, Ergodyne. “While the human cost is obviously the biggest concern, heat-related fatalities also cost employers nearly $54 million in 2015.”