Charleston County boosts heat safety training for employees

Charleston County boosts heat safety training for employees

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - With the heat index over 100 degrees in some areas this week, a lot of people were trying to avoid going outdoors. However, for some - it's unavoidable. It's part of their job. 
Charleston County has implemented a program to make sure their outdoor workers stay safe in the heat.

The  Safety Officer for the county, Raymond Bowers, says their public works department is trying to change the mentality of it's outdoor workers.

"They don't want to be the person on the work crew that doesn't seem like they're pulling their weight," said Bowers.

A national program called "Water Rest Shade" has been implemented that educated its workers on how to safely work in the heat.

"We've got something established for you now," said Bowers. "We want you to take a break, you don't have to ask for it, you shouldn't have to ask for it."

Bowers says it's being received well by employees.

Robert Doctor is the foreman of drainage crew that spends up to eight hours a day removing shrubs and weeds around ditches.

"Make sure that the guys take more water breaks, try to take in as much fluids as possible to keep everyone safe," said Doctor.

Recently, Bowers says the public works employees took part in a heat safety training day

"We take extra precautions when the heat advisory is in effect or when the heat index reaches a certain limit," said Doctor.

Each field crew is given a heat cheat sheet that lays out just how much the workers should be doing depending on the temperature.

"So, depending what the heat index value is they should work maybe 30 minutes at a time and take a break for 30 minute," said Bowers.

The public works teams also have been trained on how to recognize heat exhaustion.  Some of those symptoms include cramping, confusion and little to no sweating.

Copyright WCSC 2015. All rights reserved.