As a record-setting heat wave impacts much of the U.S., farm employees are often on the front lines of brutal outdoor working conditions. Thousands of farm workers fall ill or injured each year as a result of heat exposure, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
For farmers managing employees working in extremely hot conditions, these five tips can help workers stay cool and healthy:
1. Provide water stations or coolers to keep employees hydrated.
2. Allow breaks and consider adding fans or window air conditions to allow relief from the heat.
3. Consider providing specialty garments like moisture-wicking shirts and breathable hats.
4. Change schedules to allow for the hottest jobs to be completed at the coolest parts of the day.
5. A summer freezer stocked with ice cream or popsicles can put a smile on anyone’s face and provide relief from the intense heat.
Know the signs of heat illness in your employees such as heat rash, cramps, headaches or nausea. Seek help immediately if any employee falls victim to heat stroke, which may be accompanied by confusion, fainting or seizures.
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