“Beware of the Hidden Heat Hazard Lurking in Plain Sight – Stay Safe and Cool!”
Extreme heat and worker heat illnesses have been a major concern in 2023. However, another hazard that people often overlook in high temperatures is contact burns. Contact burns occur when a person’s skin comes into contact with a superheated surface, even for a short time. The longer the contact, the more severe the burns can be, potentially leading to second- and third-degree burns. Surfaces can become superheated, especially in direct sunlight when temperatures reach triple digits. For example, a person in Las Vegas suffered third-degree burns after sitting on the pavement in jeans for 40 minutes. Safety professionals should educate workers about the danger of contact burns and implement controls to prevent them. This includes addressing hazards for employees working near metal pipes, railings, stairways, equipment, containers, tanks, asphalt, or other surfaces that could become superheated when exposed to direct sunlight.
Full Article: “Beware of the Hidden Heat Hazard Lurking in Plain Sight – Stay Safe and Cool!”
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The Hidden Danger of Contact Burns in High Temperatures
Extreme heat and worker heat illnesses have been a major concern so far in 2023, but there is another hazard that hides in plain sight to keep in mind when it comes to high temperatures: Contact burns.
How Contact Burns Occur and the Severity of the Damage
Contact burns occur when a person’s skin contacts a superheated surface, even for a short time. The damage gets worse the longer contact with the surface is made, potentially leading to second- and third-degree burns, according to Lion Technologies.
The Role of Temperature in Contact Burn Risks
When temperatures reach triple digits, as they have in parts of the U.S. in the summer of 2023, surfaces can become superheated, especially in direct sunlight. Superheated surfaces can be 50 degrees hotter than the air in the immediate area. For example, a person in Las Vegas suffered third-degree burns in July 2023 after sitting on the pavement in jeans for 40 minutes while waiting for a bus.
Protecting Workers from Contact Burns
Safety professionals should include information on the danger of contact burns when discussing heat hazards with workers. They should also consider using any controls that address these hazards for employees who work close to:
- Metal pipes
- Asphalt, or
- Other surfaces that could become superheated when exposed to direct sunlight.
Summary: “Beware of the Hidden Heat Hazard Lurking in Plain Sight – Stay Safe and Cool!”
Extreme heat and worker heat illnesses have been a major concern in 2023, but another hidden hazard to consider is contact burns. Contact burns occur when a person’s skin touches a superheated surface, causing damage that can worsen over time. As temperatures reach triple digits, surfaces can become superheated, especially in direct sunlight. Safety professionals should educate workers about the danger of contact burns and implement controls to protect employees who work near metal pipes, railings, stairways, equipment, containers, tanks, asphalt, and other surfaces that can become superheated. Stay informed and proactive to prevent contact burns in high-temperature environments.
Frequently Asked Questions:
FAQ: Don’t Forget About the Heat Hazard Hiding in Plain Sight
Q1: What are some common heat hazards that are often overlooked?
A1: Some common heat hazards that tend to go unnoticed include hot surfaces (such as metal objects exposed to direct sunlight), poorly maintained electrical equipment, and the lack of proper ventilation in enclosed areas.
Q2: How can hot surfaces pose a heat hazard?
A2: Hot surfaces, especially those exposed to direct sunlight, can reach extreme temperatures, posing a risk of burns or heat-related injuries when touched or accidentally contacted. Examples of hot surfaces include playground equipment, car interiors, or metal objects left outside under the sun.
Q3: Why is it essential to maintain electrical equipment properly?
A3: Poorly maintained electrical equipment, such as malfunctioning fans, air conditioning units, or servers, can overheat and lead to electrical fires or cause the surrounding area to become excessively hot. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and inspections, can prevent these hazards from occurring.
Q4: What dangers are associated with the lack of proper ventilation in enclosed areas?
A4: Insufficient ventilation can cause hot air to become trapped, leading to higher temperatures in enclosed areas. This can be particularly dangerous in workplaces or establishments where people spend extended periods. It may result in heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or discomfort, impacting productivity and overall well-being.
Q5: How can one prevent heat hazards from causing harm?
A5: To prevent heat hazards, it is crucial to implement preventive measures such as providing shade for outdoor areas, conducting regular equipment maintenance, ensuring proper ventilation, using personal protective equipment (e.g., gloves) when handling hot objects, and promoting awareness through training and education.
Q6: What signs indicate that someone may be experiencing heat-related illnesses?
A6: Signs of heat-related illnesses include excessive sweating, dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramps, and confusion. If someone exhibits these symptoms, it is important to move them to a cooler place, offer fluids, and seek medical assistance if necessary.
Q7: Are there specific regulations or guidelines to prevent heat hazards in the workplace?
A7: Yes, several workplace safety organizations provide guidelines for preventing heat hazards, especially in high-risk industries. Employers should familiarize themselves with these regulations and implement necessary measures, such as scheduled breaks, access to shaded areas, and hydration stations, to ensure employee safety.
Q8: How can employees protect themselves from heat hazards?
A8: Employees can protect themselves by staying hydrated, wearing suitable clothing, taking regular breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas, using protective equipment when handling hot objects, and reporting any heat-related concerns to their supervisors or safety personnel.
Remember, it’s essential to regularly review your workplace or living environment for potential heat hazards and take the necessary steps to mitigate them.