Heat Stress Prevention

Heat Stress
Marygrove College realizes it has the responsibility to provide a safe work environment for its employees and that extreme heat is detrimental to its employees' physical health and productivity. This policy addresses the problems that Marygrove and employees encounter as a result of heat, and the ways Marygrove will deal with excessive heat.

Responsibility for Implementation
The Director of Campus Safety, in conjunction with the Safety Committee has been designated the responsibility for the effective implementation of this policy. All employee concerns related to heat should be directed to the Director of Campus Safety. All employees are expected to cooperate with the Director of Campus Safety in regard to heat problems.

Extreme Heat

  1. Prickly heat (heat rash) – first manifestation of a heat stress problem
  2. Heat fatigue – impairs thought processes and motor skills. Could cause employees to make mistakes
  3. Heat collapse – heat fainting is the third level of heat stress
  4. Heat tetany – Painful muscle spasms, sweaty skin
  5. Heat edema – exhaustion, headache, nausea, rapid pulse, weakness, can be fatal
  6. Heat stoke – medical emergency of the highest magnitude, a known killer

Heat Index Ranges
90 – 104 F – can cause heat tetany and edema
105 – 130 F – heat tetany and edema are probable and heat stroke is possible
130 F and above – heat stroke is probable

Air Circulation
Air movement across the skin helps evaporate perspiration and cool the body. When the heat index is below 99 degrees F, a fan can enhance the evaporation rate and reduces heat stress in the workplace. However, at temperatures above the 99 degree F threshold, air movement can make the effects of heat even worse.

When the humidity is less than 75%, the body is able to cool itself by sweating. At a higher humidity, evaporation of sweat diminishes rapidly, stopping completely when the humidity reaches 90 percent.

Heat Stress Prevention Program
Marygrove will prevent heat stress through the following:

Water is always available to employees at various sites at no cost. If the normal supply is depleted, notify administrative services.

Marygrove will provide fans for those employees who do not have air conditioning. Employees are not required to purchase their own fans. Additionally, the Director of Campus Safety will assess hallways and other non-work areas used by employees to determine the need for fans.

Employees will be encouraged to take more frequent breaks to get away from the heat, i.e., every two hours. This might mean moving to an area that is cooler for 15/20 minutes before returning to work.

Monitoring of workplace temperatures
The director of campus safety (or designee) will monitor the heat index in offices on hot days, and make recommendations based upon the heat index. Recommendations could include moving employees to other locations for the day or closing the office. The recommendation is made to the department director. In the event, there is a recommendation to close the office; the respective VP must give approval.

The director of campus safety may initiate other actions to prevent heat stress.

Medical Limitations
Employees who have health problems which are aggrevated by the heat may request an accommodation through the use of the college special needs form.

Sending Employees Home
A vice president for his/her respective area may approve early employee dismissals because of the heat. Only the president may make decisions affecting the entire campus. Pay procedures are already outlined under emergency closure.

Customer Service
Realizing that working in heat is not a comfortable situation, employees must be mindful that the same high level of customer service is expected. While heat may cause increased irritability, the customer must always be provided courteous service.