After Record-Setting Hot Summer, J. J. Keller Pulse Poll Reveals Companies’ Strategies for Combating Heat Stress

With record-setting heat over the past few summers, OSHA and the Biden administration have taken measures to raise awareness of heat stress dangers. A recent J. J. Keller Center for Market Insights pulse poll reveals what U.S. companies are doing to address the issue, as well as contributing factors.

Over the past year, OSHA published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings as well as a National Emphasis Program. In July, the Biden administration launched a website to help the public understand and reduce the health risks of extreme heat.

Key Study Findings

  • 58% of respondents work inside and outside throughout their workday, with 15% working primarily outdoors
  • 63% said machinery and equipment that produces heat is a main heat stress factor for them
  • 56% said the level of required personal protective equipment (PPE) enhances the risk of heat stress
  • 80% of companies provide training on heat stress but only 56% have an emergency response plan for it
  • 93% of companies provide water to minimize heat stress, followed by closely by training at 90% and rest breaks at 86%

The Heat Stress Pulse Poll was distributed to 10,829 companies in the manufacturing, utilities, construction, and wholesale industries. The survey was aimed specifically at personnel with EHS, compliance, or risk job roles who were asked to consider both indoor and outdoor work activities. Most respondents (50%) represented manufacturing, followed closely by construction (39%). Additional respondents represented agriculture, mining, services, transportation, utilities, and other industries. These companies had employee counts ranging from more than 2500 to as few as 10, with the majority of respondents having 101-250 employees.

“It’s clear that employers recognize heat stress as a serious issue and are taking action to address it,” said J. J. Keller Customer & Market Insights Manager Wendy Blezek Fleming. “Learning what challenges other companies face and the mitigation measures they employ can give safety managers and EHS professionals insight into improving their heat prevention programs.”

Other heat control measures used by respondents include additional fans, ventilation, or reflective shields; cooling products; and providing shade.

For a more detailed summary of the results, visit www.jjkeller.com/heatstress.

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