Water, rest, and shade: Preventing heat illness for employees

Employers can help their workers stay safe and healthy if they remember this advice for preventing heat illness.

Employers can help their workers stay safe and healthy if they remember this advice for preventing heat illness.

United Parcel Service faces a proposed $13,260 fine after, the Department of Labor says, working in too much heat put a Florida delivery person in the hospital.

UPS said in an e-mail to the Miami Herald that it will contest the citation, which was issued last week and announced by Labor Wednesday.

“To address training and preparation for our personnel who work outdoors, in 2006 UPS implemented the Cool Solutions program,” UPS said. “ Cool Solutions instructs employees to ensure they have proper rest, eat nutritious foods, hydrate frequently, and to take precautions to avoid health risks when working outdoors. It complies with the abatement requirements outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the Aug. 23 notification.

The Department of Labor says a UPS driver out of the Riviera Beach facility “became ill while delivering packages and needed hospitalization” on a day this summer when the heat index (heat combined with humidity) was 99 to 105 degrees.

OSHA inspectors adjudged the carrier working the Wellington route on June 21 to be “exposed to the hazard of high ambient temperatures and direct sunlight.” The inspector measured the base temperature at 87 to 91 degrees with a heat index of 98.9 to 104.7 degrees. On July 11, the inspector found the delivery person on a Royal Palm Beach route working in a heat index of 83.66 to 108.68.

“If an employee ever feels ill for any reason, they are informed to stop what they are doing and notify their delivery center management,” UPS said. “ If they need assistance, local UPS personnel will respond by coming to their location to help them return to their delivery center or arrange immediate medical assistance at their location. We never want them to continue working to the point that they risk their health or work in an unsafe manner.”

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.

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