Employers cannot overlook the hazards that come with heat. This is the time to plan and implement preventive controls to protect your workers and family. It is too late once heat illness symptoms manifest by the individual or coworkers -- meaning, they have already developed heat illness.

Farmers and ranchers need to focus on prevention and education to keep themselves and any workers protected in extreme temperatures. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) offers the following guidelines: 

  • Monitor weather and develop a plan for when a heat wave is forecasted.
  • Ensure that cool, potable water is readily available and encourage workers to hydrate before, during and after work.
  • Create a buddy system where workers observe each other for symptoms of heat-related illness and allow for early intervention.
  • Acclimate workers by gradually increasing workloads so their bodies adjust to the heat.
  • Determine the frequency and duration of breaks by temperature, humidity, and physical tasks and provide workers with a shaded or air-conditioned area for breaks. 

You might be wondering how often heat illnesses occur. Keep in mind many factors contribute to individual susceptibility. Such as weight, age, and health. Employers should provide heat stress training to enable workers to self-monitor and watch out for each other. Trainings should include the following: 

  • Heat hazards and risk factors.
  • Signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.
  • Heat-related illness causes and risk reduction such as drinking enough water and monitoring the color and amount of urine output.
  • Proper use and care for heat protective clothing and equipment.
  • Impacts of exertion, clothing, and personal protective equipment on heat load.
  • Heat acclimatization.
  • Reporting symptoms and signs of heat-related illness.
  • Review of first aid procedures and how to contact emergency medical services. 

For some additional tips, you can watch the Utah Farm Bureau's 'Heat Safety' video HERE, and share with others. You can also view it via the QR code.