OMNIA Partners Blog

Keeping Workers Cool In Extreme Heat

Posted by KBS on July 27, 2022

According to OSHA, thousands of workers become ill and dozens die, while working in extreme heat each year. Heat stress can affect anyone, regardless of age, physical condition, or exposure time. To protect workers, OSHA launched a National Emphasis Program whereby the organization will conduct heat-related workplace inspections to help prevent illnesses, injuries, or fatalities.

Best Practices for Prevention

Overexposure to heat can happen  indoors or outdoors. It can occur during any season – not just summer heat waves. Still, as temperatures rise throughout summer months, the KBS team believes it is essential for facility managers and their crew members to follow best safety practices that can prevent heat-related illnesses.

Through the OMNIA Partners program, KBS has resources dedicated to support your operations and ensure health and safety guidelines are met. They conduct annual heat stress prevention training and encourage employees to call the Safety Hotline to report issues including high heat hazards.


KBS advises facility managers to focus on the OSHA guidelines of providing water, rest, and shade for their crews when they face extreme heat this summer:

  • Drink water regularly (one cup every 20 minutes, even if you are not thirsty) and avoid alcohol or liquids with substantial amounts of sugar
  • Schedule more labor-intensive tasks for earlier or later in the day to avoid heat
  • Wear a brimmed hat and loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing
  • Take breaks more frequently
  • Spend time in air-conditioned buildings during breaks and after work

Facility managers can also remind team members how to protect themselves from the dangers of outdoor and indoor heat exposure by printing and displaying OSHA’s “Prevent Heat Illness at Work” poster in either English or Spanish.

heat stress graphic

Warning Signs

Facility managers should also understand that, per OSHA, 50% to 70% of outdoor fatalities occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments. This happens because the body needs to build a heat tolerance (“heat acclimatization”) gradually over time but is often unable to do so. Amid such heat, the human body can lose too much water and salt – usually due to sweating – and become vulnerable to heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. Common symptoms include:

  • Headaches, dizziness, or fainting
  • Fatigue, weakness, or exhaustion
  • Rapid heart rate or rapid breathing
  • Body temperature over 103°F
  • Convulsions or unresponsiveness

In Case of an Emergency

KBS recommends taking the following actions if you see someone suffering from either heat exhaustion or heat stroke:

  • Move to a shaded or air-conditioned area
  • Remove unnecessary clothing
  • Provide cold water or another cool, non-alcoholic beverage
  • Apply cold, wet towels or, if needed, take a cool shower
  • If necessary, call 911

Working in very warm conditions is sometimes necessary, but it does not have to be harmful. By following the guidelines listed above, facility managers can prevent heat illnesses and injuries among their teams and themselves.

About KBS and OMNIA Partners

KBS provides essential facility services with the highest standards of performance. A leader in retail, logistics, business, & hospitality, KBS has over 50 years of experience maintaining healthy operations. Members of OMNIA Partners can utilize our program with KBS to keep their employees safe year-round. Learn more about KBS today! 

Topics: Facilities & Infrastructure, Janitorial & Sanitation