CDC Fact Sheets Focus on Heat Stress Prevention During COVID-19
New fact sheets published by CDC provide information for employers and employees on heat stress prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic. CDC warns employers that implementing COVID-19 health and safety recommendations may alter employees’ working environment in ways that can put workers at additional risk for heat-related illness. Employees returning to the workplace after more than a week’s absence; wearing personal protective equipment or face coverings; performing increased physical activity due to social distancing requirements; or working longer shifts to make up for pandemic-related setbacks are all at heightened risk of heat stress.
CDC urges employers to modify their heat illness prevention programs to protect workers from both heat stress and exposure to COVID-19. The agency’s fact sheet for employers makes recommendations for pre-screening and reacclimatizing employees; cloth face coverings, masks, and PPE; work/rest schedules; ventilation; cooling stations; and emergency first aid for heat-related illnesses. CDC’s recommendations for workers include taking time to reacclimatize, taking longer and more frequent rest breaks, and wearing cloth face coverings that are lightweight and light in color.
For more information on heat stress, see topic pages from NIOSH and OSHA.