As southern Nevada has begun to experience extreme temperatures and complaints of heat-related injuries have risen in certain high-risk industries, a new program to protect employees working in these industries from heat exposure and the resulting injuries and illnesses has begun.
The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is now implementing a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to protect workers in both indoor and outdoor settings. These Nevada OSHA heat regulations differ from the national standard because of the state’s hot, arid climate.
This new program for Nevada industries stems from concerns that warming temperatures might be causing unsafe working conditions. A recent study from the Desert Research Institute (DRI) found that average summer heat index values increased between 2011 and 2018. As a result of these high temperatures, the study found that workers in Nevada industries reported heat-related injuries at a higher rate during that time.
When the National Weather Service issues a heat warning or advisory, Nevada OSHA heat regulations dictate that inspections must be conducted in over 70 high-risk industries. Nevada Industries like construction, where workers are exposed to intense heat and rigorous working conditions, are some of the most vulnerable to heat-related injuries and illnesses. Many high-risk Nevada industries are already on a list for comprehensive inspections, but during the NEP, heat will be added as something to look out for.
These new OSHA heat regulations for Nevada industries will be a big step forward in terms of the safety of the workers in these high-risk industries. However, it’s still important to know what to look out for and what to do when someone is suffering from heat-related injuries or illness.
How to Identify if Someone is Suffering from a Heat-Related Injury or Illness
Some common symptoms of illness or injuries brought on by extreme heat are:
- Excessive sweating
- Cool, pale, clammy skin
- Feeling faint or dizzy
- Muscle cramps
- Throbbing headache
- Loss of consciousness or fainting
What to Do if You’re Suffering in the Heat
Any member of Nevada industries who is experiencing symptoms of heat-related illness should seek out a cool, shaded area, drink plenty of water and attempt to cool the body as much as possible. If a person’s condition worsens or they display symptoms of a more severe illness like heat stroke, call 911 right away.