Tips on Wearing Face Coverings in the Heat
• Use a breathable fabric and a lighter color. If cotton or bamboo fabric is chosen, it is recommended to use two layers.
• Have extra face coverings readily available so when one gets damp, you can quickly replace it. Remember to also use hand sanitizer or wash your hands when changing coverings.
• Make sure the mask fits well, but allow for room between your mouth and the mask to allow airflow.
• Build in breaks to provide relief from wearing a face covering, while still engaging in COVID-19 safe practices such as social distancing.
• Wash face coverings after each use.
• Engage in other heat safety practices such as wearing sunscreen and hats, drinking water often, and taking breaks in the shade.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified heat-related illness as a major threat to worker safety. They are enforcing the required use of best practices on their General Duties Clause. Employers must consider the effects of heat exposure in providing work and work environments that protect employees from heat-related illnesses. Proactively addressing these exposures can prevent serious injuries and even death in worst-case scenarios. By taking a number of simple precautions and ensuring everyone knows what symptoms to look for in themselves and coworkers, van operators, laborers, and warehouse workers can leave work in the same or better condition than when they started their day.
OSHA’s Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness is designed for the employers to (1) identify at-risk workers; (2) identify circumstances giving rise to heat illness; and (3) promote ways to prevent heat illness such as frequently drinking water, resting in the shade and identifying signs and symptoms of impending heat illness.
OSHA has developed posters and training guides for employers to use with its workers. Agents should become familiar with these materials and incorporate the guidance into agency best practices. Crew leaders can make use of these materials in raising awareness at the beginning of peak season and throughout the summer when hot conditions are expected. Click here for OSHA training tools and reference materials.
Workplace Heat Injury Prevention Guide
You can also print this guide to provide to your staff, van operators, and crews so they have tips for preventing heatstroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash readily available at their fingertips.