WASHINGTON — Working in hot or hot and humid conditions can place additional and generally avoidable hazards to the health and safety of drycleaning or laundry workers. And during what is typically the hottest time of year in most locales, it’s more important than ever that employers provide detailed instructions on preventive measures and adequate protection necessary to prevent heat stress, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Certain safety problems are common to hot environments. Heat tends to promote accidents due to the slipperiness of sweaty palms, dizziness, or the fogging of safety glasses. Wherever there exists steam, the possibility of burns from accidental contact also exists.
Aside from these obvious dangers, the frequency of accidents, in general, appears to be higher in hot environments. Working in a hot environment lowers mental alertness and physical performance. Increased body temperature and physical discomfort promote irritability, anger and other emotional states, which sometimes cause workers to overlook safety procedures or to divert attention from hazardous tasks.