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Construction Depot

Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry

June 16, 2015

 

Beat the heat

Oregon average monthly high temperatures in selected cities

Oregon: Average monthly high temperatures in selected cities
Source: National Climatic Data Center. NOAA's 1981-2010 Climate Normals

July and August are the hottest months across Oregon. They are also the months when outdoor workers are most at risk for heat illness. But heat illness can be a serious threat any time workers are not prepared for hot weather – and the risk increases when the weather is hot and humid. Sweating, which helps keep the core body temperature constant, becomes increasingly ineffective as humidity rises. The combination of heat and humidity can be lethal, even when the outdoor temperature does not seem extreme. An effective measure of heat and humidity is called wet bulb temperature. A wet-bulb temperature greater than 95 degrees for more than six hours is likely to be fatal for healthy people, even if they are wearing no clothes and sitting next to a fan. At this wet bulb temperature the human body can no longer cool itself.

Tips for workers:

Mind your UV exposure, too

You probably know that the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, cataracts, and skin cancer. What are you doing to protect yourself? Four reminders:

 

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