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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

SM 445-2-H CHAPTER 45

The Management of Occupational Heat Stress

Instruction:  Changes to this chapter were made to reflect Bureau organization changes.

1. Purpose. To establish policy and procedures for employees working in hot environments in order to prevent heat-related illnesses. This policy applies to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) employees and those who work under USGS funding or direction.

2.  References.

A.  Occupational Exposure to Hot Environments, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Revised Criteria 1986

B. Threshold Limit Values (TLVs ®) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs ®) Based on the Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values for Chemicals Substances and Physical Agents and Biological Exposure Indices, American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, current edition.

3.  Requirements

A. Evaluate the work environment for heat stress conditions by measuring the wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) index using a WBGT meter. (Refer to Appendix A, Table 1: WBGT Index and Work-Rest/Water Intake Schedule.) Where a WBGT meter is not available, use the Heat Index chart in Appendix B until a further evaluation can be conducted. Reevaluate the work environment when there is a potential for changes in heat stress conditions.

B. Develop a site-specific Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) to mitigate the risk to heat stress illness based on a worksite evaluation of heat stress conditions. Update the JHA when followup evaluations determine a change in heat stress conditions.

C. Implement a work-rest and fluid intake schedule when heat stress conditions have been identified. (Refer to Appendix A, WBGT Index and Work-Rest/Water Intake Schedule.)

D. Acclimatize employees and monitor all employees for heat-related illnesses, while working in environments where heat stress conditions have been identified.

E. Provide training to all employees working in heat stress conditions. Training should be provided annually or when assigned work in hot environments. Training shall include at a minimum:

(1) The types of heat–related illnesses and how to recognize their signs and symptoms. (See Appendix C, List of Heat Related Illnesses.)

(2)  Recognition and evaluation of heat stress conditions.

(3)  Procedures and practices established to prevent heat–related illnesses including work-rest schedules and limiting or postponing certain activities until cooler periods.

(4)  Importance of drinking small quantities of water with electrolytes, often; restraining from the use of alcohol; and eating smaller meals.

(5)  Procedures for acclimatizing worker.

(6)  Procedures for responding to possible heat-related illness, including providing first aid and contacting emergency medical services.

(7)  Importance of immediately reporting signs or symptoms of heat-related illness to the supervisor.

4. Responsibilities.

A.  Director.  Directs Heat Stress Program activities through the Designated Agency Safety and Health Official, who, for the Bureau, is the Associate Director for Administration

B. Bureau Designated Agency Safety and Health Official (DASHO). Provides appropriate personnel and budgetary resources to establish and maintain a bureauwide heat stress management program.

C. Associate Directors and Regional Directors.

(1) Ensure that financial resources are provided to local sites to implement and comply with the Bureau’s heat stress management program.

(2) Ensure that managers and supervisors are aware of their responsibility to comply with the Bureau’s heat stress management program requirements.

(3) Ensure that regional, national capabilities, facility, and local program deficiencies are abated in a timely manner.

D. Chief, Office of Management Services

(1)  Assigns Heat Stress Program responsibilities to the Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager for Bureau program management and administration.

(2)  Ensures OMS staff has sufficient authority, resources, and qualifications to effectively support regional and national capabilities implementation of heat stress program requirements.

E. Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager.

(1) Provides policy development and program oversight of the Bureau’s heat stress management program.

(2) Provide direction oversight, serving as the focal point for compliance with the Bureau’s heat stress management requirements for national capability organizations and facilities and provide technical assistance, as requested, to Regional Safety Managers.

(3) Conduct national capabilities and regional program evaluations, in accordance with SM 445-2-H.5 Program Evaluations, to assess the effectiveness and implementation of the Bureau’s heat stress management program.

F. Regional Safety Managers.

(1) Provide regionwide direction and oversight for the administration of the Bureau’s heat stress management program, serving as the focal point for regional compliance and provide technical assistance to collateral duty safety program coordinators.

(2) Assist collateral duty safety program coordinators as required in establishing JHAs for specific jobsites that address heat stress management and coordinating employee training.

(3) Evaluate effectiveness of field-level heat stress management during inspections, making recommendations for improvement and/or implementation, as appropriate.

G. Managers and Supervisors.

(1) Ensure that adequate resources are available to fully address heat stress management within the centers and jobsites.

(2) Evaluate the hot work environments for heat stress conditions and identify all work activities and locations where employees could be susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

(3) Ensure that all employees assigned to perform strenuous work in hot environments are physically capable of safely carrying out their duties. New employees or employees assigned to new positions where they are exposed to heat stress conditions may need to be medically cleared prior to assignment in these types of jobs. Refer to SM 445-2-H.23 Occupational Medicine – Medical Surveillance Program and the Department of the Interior (DOI) Occupational Medicine Handbook for guidance on pre-employment/pre-placement exams.

(4) Provide cool water to replace fluids. If employees will be out in the heat for extended periods of time, sports drinks are recommended to replace electrolytes lost due to sweating.

(5) Provide cool areas for rest and recovery.

(6) Arrange work schedules so that the most strenuous work is conducted during the coolest part of the day.

(7) Monitor all employees working in hot environments to ensure that they are drinking adequate quantities of fluids and to ensure that employees are not suffering from heat-related illnesses.

(8) Be familiar with the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and take appropriate action when someone exhibits these signs or symptoms. (See Appendix C for a list of heat-related illnesses and recommended first aid.)

(9) Ensure that all employees assigned to perform work in hot conditions are properly trained on the different types of heat–related illnesses and can perform first aid should they occur,

(10) Report any heat-related incidents in the Safety Management Information System.

H. Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators.

(1) Assist managers and supervisors with complying with the Bureau’s heat stress management policy, including assisting in evaluating the work environment for heat-stress conditions.

(2) Provide input to managers and supervisors on the effectiveness of site specific JHAs addressing heat stress management.

I. Employees.

(1) Follow the locally established heat stress management practices, as addressed in the site-specific JHAs.

(2) Participate in heat stress training and be familiar with the hazards associated with working in hot environments and the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. Information about heat-related illnesses, initial first aid, and when to seek professional medical help is provided in Appendix C.

(3) Keep track of the local heat index or WBGT (Wet Bulb Globe Temperature) and moderate work, rest, and hydration based on Appendix A. Contact the collateral duty safety program coordinator, as needed.

(4) Report any heat-related illnesses to the manager or supervisor.

/s/ Karen D. Baker                                                                                          April 24, 2014
_________________________________________________                      _________________
Karen D. Baker                                                                                                           Date
Acting Associate Director for Administration and Human Capital  

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