Dehydrated employees can significantly impact a company’s overall performance and safety record. Studies show that even mild dehydration (>2% of body mass) has effects on cognitive functions like concentration, alertness and short-term memory. Dehydration can also lead to lower productivity levels and increased risk of accidents and heat-related illnesses. Employers can include hydration promotion as part of a comprehensive workplace wellness and safety program, especially during hot summer months. Click here for strategies employers can take to promote hydration.
Under the OSH Act, employers must protect their employees from serious hazards in the workplace. This includes heat-related hazards and illnesses. The “heat index” provides a measure for estimating worker risk and takes in account both air temperature and humidity. OSHA recommends employers track the worksite heat index daily and communicate it and the required precautions to workers. Click here to learn how to use the heat index to protect workers and link to a guide for employers on using the heat index.
Take a Total Worker Health Approach
Employees who stay hydrated feel better, are more productive and are safer on the job. Employers can take a Total Worker Health™ approach and integrate workplace hydration promotion programming with safety programs to protect workers against heat-related hazards and illnesses. By strategically making this link, the work environment can be enhanced, employees may be more likely to participate and individuals will have fewer health risks and injury rates.
How long employees are working in direct sunlight, wearing protective clothing/impermeable suits or performing prolonged or strenuous work should all be considered. Guidelines or policies could be established that incorporate work-to-rest cycles and fluid intake to help make sure their employees stay hydrated and are protected against heat-related hazards and illnesses. Workers new to outdoor jobs and those returning to a job after time away are particularly at risk, so it is important employers gradually increase their workload and allow for more frequent breaks so a tolerance for hot conditions can be built up.
It is important employers and employees are able to recognize signs of heat illness in employees and to be able to respond promptly and appropriately. The key is promptly. Part 3 of the CDC Extreme Heat Prevention Guide provides useful information on dealing with hot weather emergencies. Learn the symptoms of heat disorders, overexposures to the sun and how to give first aid treatment for heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps, rash and sunburn.
Kenefick RW & Sawka MN. Hydration at the work site. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2007; 26(5): 597S-603S.
Registration Open for International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health
The NIOSH Total Worker Health Program will be hosing the 1st International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health on October 6-8, 2014 in Bethesda, MD. The Symposium will explore research, practices, programs and policies that advance overall health, safety and well-being of workers through integration of health protection and health promotion. For registration information and program agenda, visit www.eagleson.org/totalworkerhealth.
Affordable Care Act 101 Webinars
The Small Business Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services and Small Business Majority are helping small business owners understand the facts of the Affordable Care Act so they can make informed decisions about providing health insurance for their employees. Other topics discussed include insurance reforms, the small business health care tax credit, and employer shared responsibility provisions. The Affordable Care Act 101 takes place every Thursday at 1 PM CT. Below is the registration links for upcoming presentations.
*Thursday, June 26 at 1:00 PM CT: Click to Register
*Thursday, July 3 at 1:00 PM CT: Click to Register
*Thursday, July 10 at 1:00 PM CT: Click to Register
*Thursday, July 17 at 1:00 PM CT: Click to Register
*Thursday, July 24 at 1:00 PM CT: Click to Register
Employer Tip of the Week
Tips related to employee safety, health and wellness will be shared weekly through Facebook, Twitter and the HWCE website. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to automatically receive tips each week.
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*Join the NIOSH Total Worker Health Group on LinkedIn
A more detailed listing with registration links is available through our online calendar of events.
* June is National Safety Month
Join the National Safety Council in celebrating National Safety Month access free materials for bringing attention to key safety issues to employees. 2014 themed weeks include preventing prescription drug abuse; preventing slips, trips and falls; being aware of your surroundings; distracted driving; and summer safety. Sign up and access free materials here.
* 2014 Occupational Health Psychology Summer Institute: Advancing Theory and Practice in the Context of Total Worker Health
July 16-18, 2014 at Portland State University, Portland, OR
Registration information available here.
* 2014 HERO Forum for Employee Health Management Solutions “From Return on Investment to Value on Investment”
September 30-October 2, 2014 at the Westin San Diego, CA
A leading venue for the latest in best practices, research and innovation in the field of health management. More information available here.
* 1st International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health™
October 6-8, 2014 in Bethesda, MD; The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Total Worker Health™ Program is currently accepting abstracts. Click here for more information on the conference and the call for proposals.
* Wellness Council of Iowa Wellness Huddle
November 5, 2014 in Cedar Rapids on Wellness Program Structure & Planning
Event details available here. http://www.wellnessiowa.org/event/huddlenovcr/
* National Sleep Foundation Sleep Health & Safety Conference
November 7, 2014 in Washington DC
Registration information here
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