OSHA has cited UPS, the package delivery company, for exposing their drivers to excessive heat.
The company is facing $13,260 in penalties after a worker became ill following extreme temperatures in Riviera Beach, FL.
The employee became ill while delivering packages and needed hospitalization. The heat index ranged between 99 and 105 degrees.
According to OSHA, most outdoor fatalities, 50% to 70%, occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments because the body needs to build a tolerance to the heat gradually over time.
The process of building tolerance is called heat acclimatization. Lack of acclimatization represents a major risk factor for fatal outcomes.
Occupational risk factors for heat illness include heavy physical activity, warm or hot environmental conditions, lack of acclimatization, and wearing clothing that holds in body heat.
Heatstroke is the most severe heat-related illness. Workers suffering from heatstroke experience mental dysfunction such as unconsciousness, confusion, disorientation, or slurred speech.
Some workers are more susceptible to heat-related illness. Personal risk factors include medical conditions, lack of physical fitness, previous episodes of heat-related illness, alcohol consumption, drugs, and use of certain medication.
According to OSHA, management should commit to preventing heat-related illness for all employees regardless of their heat tolerance levels.
Measurement of heart rate, body weight, or body temperature (physiologic monitoring) can provide individualized data to aid decisions about heat controls.
When you’re working in the heat, safety comes first. With the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool, you have vital safety information available whenever and wherever you need it – right on your mobile phone.