Summer 2019 is proving to be a record year for high temperatures and heatwaves across the United States. Forecasters at the Nation Weather Service have been using strong language to describe the recent heatwave hitting the Northeast, calling it “prolonged, dangerous, and potentially deadly.” Heat index ratings have been exceeding 110 degrees across Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York. As conditions continue to warm, employers with outdoor personnel face challenges to keep employees comfortable and cool. Common with the environmental remediation and demolition industries, employees are exposed to the elements, and it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the safety of their personnel. Envirocon leads the industry in our commitment to safety and goes above and beyond to maintain employee safety during the hot summer months.
Our highest priority on all job sites is employee safety. Heat stress is actively addressed in Site-Specific Health and Safety Plans (SSHASP), detailing the resources and mandatory procedures in place for employees to stay hydrated and cool. Project management initiates heat stress programs when the ambient temperature exceeds 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Ample cold-water stations are present across worksites, and all personnel are trained in recognizing the signs of heat stress and heat exhaustion. Regular breaks are mandated to avoid heat stress. For employees working outdoors, passenger vans or trucks with air conditioning are utilized for a break and cool-down periods. A buddy system provides regular status checks is initiated, along with regular monitoring managed by the full-time site Health and Safety Officer. Envirocon makes heat safety a priority during the summer months to ensure that our work crews are comfortable and safe.
Project management continually tracks and evaluates weather trends, adjusting work plans should conditions change. At an active project in Illinois, unexpected high temperatures and humidity put our team on high alert. In addition to standard heat stress protocols, the team initiated specific training and safety discussions in heat exhaustion. Cold electrolyte drinks were made available to all personnel and to further ensure the comfort and safety of our crew, Envirocon replaced all open cab equipment with enclosed cab equipment furnished with air conditioning. Our employees are the foundation of our company and our greatest asset, today and in the future. This mindset truly embodies Envirocon’s safety culture: safety is our first and greatest priority.