NIOSH Offers Free Resources for Heat Stress Prevention Among Mine Workers

NIOSH Offers Free Resources for Heat Stress Prevention Among Mine Workers

The organization’s heat stress resources include an instructor-led training module.

Heat stress poses a danger to mine workers, potentially leading to heat exhaustion, heat stroke and organ damage. The risks have only increased, as surface temperatures have risen and underground mines have gotten deeper. Now the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released free resources to help prevent heat-related illnesses this summer.

One of the key resources NIOSH provides is the "Keeping Cool" training module, designed to help mine workers understand and reduce heat-related risks. This instructor-led training involves assessing a fictional crew's risk factors and participating in group discussions. The module can be adapted for various training needs and schedules.

In addition, NIOSH offers heat stress fact sheets in English and Spanish, a poster to promote safe behaviors and the Heat Safety Tool app, providing real-time heat index information, hourly forecasts and safety recommendations based on the current heat index. New miners, older workers, and those with heart disease or high blood pressure are among those at higher risk.

“Reducing heat stress and preventing heat-related illnesses is vital for both employers and workers, especially when summer temperatures peak and exposure to hot mine environments are part of the job,” Kristin Yeoman, medical officer in NIOSH’s Spokane Mining Research Division. “Additionally, employers should be aware that performing tasks requiring high physical effort, even under moderate environmental conditions, can increase the risk for heat-related illnesses.”

In general, NIOSH recommends limiting time in hot conditions, increasing the number of workers per task, and providing training about heat stress symptoms, first aid and risk factors. Other guidelines include a buddy system for monitoring signs of heat-related illness, adequate amounts of cool drinking water, a heat alert program and acclimatization plans for workers.

For more information on heat stress prevention and other resources, visit the NIOSH website.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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