To many of us, the summer months signal time off from work, longer days, holidays and plenty of outdoor activities. However, for workers whose jobs keep them outside for the better part of the workday and lone workers, summer months can also bring additional hazards and health risks.
Regroup’s clients include companies engaged in construction, security, logistics, property management, and other professional services that are largely carried out by workers in the field. For them, having a reliable mass notification system helps protect workers from health risks with planned messaging and other reminders when temperatures are on the rise.
As part of our Summer Safety Series, Regroup shares ideas for a communication plan that serves to keep outdoor employees and lone workers safe and using precautionary measures when working in hotter months.
Reviewing the Risks
As a primer for companies and employees, OSHA has published a quick card that explains the risks and signs of heat-related illnesses. Among the risk factors they cite, high temperatures and humidity, physical labor and low fluid intake are the most common triggers.
When summer months roll around, employers can plan health-related messaging to alert workers to risk factors and give directions to avoid the associated dangers. Using Regroup and its unlimited custom templates, planned messaging can be scheduled and rolled out by date and to specific groups of employees.
This can help keep messaging more clear and timely. Additionally, Regroup’s reporting allows administrators to visualize who has reviewed the message and who has not.
Training New Team Members
Using Regroup for employee training and continuing education is also an effective and convenient tool. The platform can be used to send policy reminders, checklists for supervisors, and introductions to new team members that help get them up to speed on the safety measures required for outdoor work.
Regroup gives organizations the ability to send to email as well as text/SMS — ensuring your message is reliably received by off-site workforces and lone workers. A typical summer safety checklist for your crew might include the following:
- Cover Up
Wear light-colored, tightly woven fabrics to help block harmful UV rays and stay cool.
- Use Sunscreen
Use sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 30.
- Wear a Hat
Wide brim hats will protect the face, neck and nose.
Take a portable supply of water with you and stay hydrated.
- Take Frequent Short Breaks
Find shade and take a short break to cool down.
Regional Alerts Using Geotargeting
In some areas, standing water and heavy clearing activities can lead to the increased appearance of disease-carrying insects. This is particularly problematic during the summer months. Mosquitoes, ticks and other insects can pass along dangerous illnesses to humans and are typically more prevalent during summer rainy seasons throughout the southeast United States.
For workers in utilities, farming, brush clearing, construction, landscaping or even oil fields, these unwelcome pests can be a very real threat to health. When conditions are right for these infestations, alerting employees working in these areas is a useful, precautionary measure.
Regroup allows administrators to target a specific area through geofencing technology. This gives employers the ability to alert those entering an area — prior to their arrival — so that additional physical procedures can be followed. In such cases, an alert can direct workers to wear long sleeves and boots, use insect repellents and examine work clothing for signs of ticks.
Richer Messaging for Safety
Poison ivy, oak and sumac can all be deposited on the skin through direct contact and can trigger serious respiratory irritation in some individuals. Through education, employers can help their workers stay safer when out in the field.
Rich messaging allows administrators to send notifications of potential poisonous plant life in a specific area that include accompanying images that help workers better identify plants to avoid contact with. This can be particularly helpful to new employees and trainees and, since rich media can be saved to the recipient’s mobile device, they can keep the visual references on hand wherever they may travel for work.
Providing Safety Guidance to Outdoor Workers in Need
Regroup’s mobile app and two-way communications give outdoor workers a dependable and fast way to send the alert should a teammate be in need of attention. A call to emergency services should always come first if the situation is serious or life-threatening. In less critical circumstances, however, alerting the employer or field supervisor to a teammate’s need for attention can be useful in coping with immediate needs.
With these tools in place, offsite and outdoor workers can communicate with each other to take action and assist a co-worker in need. Understanding heat-related illnesses and how to respond will further keep your teams safer. The United States Ready campaign defines heat-related illnesses in these ways:
- Heat Cramps
Signs: Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms or legs
- Heat Exhaustion
Signs: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting, nausea and vomiting
- Heat Stroke
Extremely high body temperature (103f+); red, hot and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness, confusion or unconsciousness
For additional information, download the Ready campaign’s Extreme Heat Information sheet. Know the signs and severity and keep your workforce informed as to the next steps.
Summer Weather and Outdoor Safety
The official kickoff to hurricane season in the United States is June 1. And, even without the threat of a hurricane or tropical storm, summer weather can be unpredictable. Lightning strikes and flash floods can impact much of North America, threatening property and individual lives.
Regroup provides automatic NOAA/NWS severe weather that can be delivered to mobile devices, desktop popup alerts, email, social media, and more. Once implemented, Regroup’s automatic severe weather alerts eliminate guesswork and notify your team when hazardous weather conditions are on the way. This gives employees the advantage of additional time for suspending operations or seeking shelter.
It also serves as a business continuity tool — alerting stakeholders of potential vulnerabilities in facilities and operations due to inclement weather conditions.
Keep the People You Care About Safe and Informed
From everyday advisories and updates to critical alerts, Regroup is the cornerstone of any business communication plan. Using it to ensure the health and safety of your workforce is a smart investment that benefits your employees as well as your company or organization.
Keeping in mind the inherent potential hazards of outdoor work in hotter temperatures and sharing as much information as possible with your workforce will go a long way to providing a safer, more productive, and happier workplace.
Your Next Steps
Will your area be affected by severe weather this summer? Regroup offers a free Summer Weather Preparedness Guide to help you learn about the risks and advance preparation for your entire organization. Our guide can help you through the steps of planning for hotter weather and storms before they hit, and how to recover after the following dangerous weather events. Download it here.
Ready to see more? You can schedule a no-obligation demo of Regroup’s powerful notification system here.