Kevin Lindley, Safety Consultant, FRSA Self Insurers Fund
In Florida, it is often said that while we have four seasons, we only experience two types of weather: hot and scalding hot. The humidity in the air causes the temperature to feel warmer than the same temperature would feel in other locations. For this reason, it is imperative that employers, especially those who work outside all day such as roofers, take additional steps to ensure their workers stay well hydrated, are informed to recognize and treat heat-related illnesses and care for themselves to minimize the brutal effects the Florida heat can have on individuals.
Per OSHA regulations, section 29 CFR 1926.51(a), “An adequate supply of potable water shall be provided in all places of employment.” This one regulation is not precise. “Adequate” is a subjective word for OSHA to use; therefore, to determine what an adequate amount of water would be, you must research to discover the quantity necessary. We all know that water is a vital nutrient for proper bodily function. It makes up over 80 percent of blood, roughly 75 percent of muscles and around 25 percent of bones in the human body. Water helps the body regulate its temperature. Not having enough water or losing more than an individual is taking in can cause dehydration that will rapidly decrease normal skills, reduce endurance and impair concentration. Lack of water will cause workers to be less productive, more unorganized and more likely to make mistakes that will place them in danger of self-injury on the job. Read more.