Industry News

Heat-Related Illnesses in Outdoor Workers

Record high temperatures have been sweeping across the country recently, posing risks to outdoor workers’ health. This Summer has been particularly brutal for outdoor workers in the propane industry including employees who install and paint tanks, deliver cylinders, and bobtail drivers.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health states that heat-related illnesses are the body’s response to excessive heat and loss of water and salt, usually through sweating. Heat stroke, a common heat-related illness, is a critical condition in which the body cannot regulate its own temperature, requiring emergency treatment, and can be fatal if treatment is delayed. According to the Centers for Disease Control, heat-related illnesses led to 119,605 emergency room visits in 2023.

It is important for employers, workers, and their coworkers to be aware of the dangers and take these recommendations from NIOSH to prevent heat-related illnesses:

  • Limit time in the heat or increase time spent in a cool area
  • Reduce the physically difficult demands of the job
  • Increase the number of workers per task
  • Provide adequate amounts of cool, potable water near the work area and encourage workers to drink water often.
  • Use tools to minimize manual work.
  • Train supervisors and coworkers about heat stress and recognizing the signs of heat-related illness.

For more information on heat-related illnesses, recommendations, symptoms, and treatment, visit the NIOSH Heat Related Illness webpage.