Loss Control Insights

Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses: Lessons From Qatar

Qatar

For best practices to reduce heat-related illness among outdoor workers, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) looked to Qatar. This state, located on the northwestern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, is known for its dry desert climate with daily summer temperatures reaching 104 degrees. How do workers in Qatar keep cool? ASSE noted the following practices used there to reduce heat-related stress:

  • Allowing workers to become acclimated to the heat
  • Using engineering controls such as cooling, ventilation and shading
  • Providing personal protective equipment such as umbrellas and evaporative bandanas
  • Assessing work scheduling and employee rotation
  • Placing water stations inside or near rest areas with mandatory water breaks
  • Posting heat stress communication materials and safety tips at key work locations
  • Banning midday working hours for certain employees during the hottest times of the year

Many of these best practices used in Qatar can be easily adapted to reduce the frequency of heat-related illnesses in the United States. The climate may be different, but the dangerous effects of working in the heat are the same—heat exhaustion that can quickly lead to heat stroke.

Visit www.cdc.gov or www.osha.gov for more tips on preventing heat-related illness.