Heat Illness Prevention

Fall and cooler temperatures seem like they should be around the corner, but much of the U.S. is hot right now, and heat illness prevention remains important. High temperatures and high humidity, hard physical activity, and non-breathable clothing are some of the factors that lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, the two main heat illnesses.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body overheats. Symptoms include cramps, fatigue, excessive sweating, and rapid heartbeat. Heat stroke is the most serious heat illness. The body no longer controls its temperature. Dizziness, dry skin, nausea, and severe headache are some of the symptoms. Heat stroke can lead to coma and death.

What to do for heat exhaustion and heat stroke

Anyone suffering heat exhaustion should leave the hot area and rest, remove unnecessary clothing, apply cool cloths, and sip water. Medical evaluation is recommended. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911. Move the worker to a cooler area, remove outer clothing, and apply cold water or wet cloths to their skin, or give them an ice bath if possible. Remain with them until medical care arrives. 

Who is at risk?

People who work in hot environments, the elderly, and those with high blood pressure are most at risk of suffering heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

How to prevent heat illness

To prevent heat illness, drink plenty of fluids the day before work and during work. OSHA recommends 8 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes, but no more than 1 liter per hour. Take breaks. Take longer and more frequent breaks as the temperature and humidity increase. Use ventilation, air conditioning, and personal cooling devices when possible. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and salt tablets. Get acclimated to the weather. 

State protocols and employer responsibilities

States have protocols to protect workers from heat exhaustion and heat stroke. California OSHA, for example, requires 2 weeks of acclimatization for workers to get used to working in hot weather.

Under OSHA, employers are responsible for protecting workers from heat-related illnesses. Employers should provide water, rest, and shaded areas. Employers should train workers on preventing and recognizing heat illnesses and allow workers to build a tolerance for working in the heat. And employers should monitor employees for signs of heat illness.

To learn more about heat illness prevention, click here to visit OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention site.

OSHA's Engineering Controls for Silica Dust

A recent study in the Annals of Work Exposures and Health examined the effectiveness of OSHA’s engineering controls for silica dust.

What is Silica?

Silica is a common mineral found in concrete, glass, mortar, brick, stone, and sand. Manufacturing, cutting, sanding, or drilling these materials can produce respirable crystalline silica, which is 100 times smaller than a grain of sand.

OSHA estimates that 2.3 million workers in the U.S. are routinely exposed to respirable silica. Inhaling this dust leads to an increased risk of several diseases. Among these are silicosis, lung cancer, kidney disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, or COPD.

OSHA Standards

OSHA published two standards on respirable silica, designed to protect workers. In the construction standard, for example, OSHA suggested systems that deliver water to the cutting surface, shrouds, dust collection systems, and HEPA filtration. By implementing these controls, it is assumed that the levels of respirable silica will remain below the personal exposure limit, or PEL.

The Study

The study, mentioned above, challenges that assumption. Researchers took air samples from a construction site. They also took personal air samples from 19 workers at the same site over 13 days. The workers performed such tasks as core drilling, cutting with a walk-behind saw, grinding, and jackhammering. Researchers noted whether or not the workers were implementing the OSHA controls. Some did not.


The researchers found that over half the workers were exposed to respirable crystalline silica above the OSHA Action Level. And nearly one third of the exposures were above the PEL. One of the work site samples exceeded the PEL. The study suggests that OSHA's engineering controls for silica dust may not prevent hazardous levels of the dust. Workers performing certain tasks, along with the rest of the work site, face levels of silica dust above the PEL. In turn, they are at greater risk of developing one of the diseases associated with breathing silica dust.

Workers Fall Into Chocolate Tank

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a serious citation and fine to the Mars Wrigley corporation after two workers fell in a tank used to manufacture chocolate. Emergency responders had to cut a hole in the bottom of the tank to free the workers. And both were taken to the hospital, one by helicopter.

Outside Contractors

The two workers were not employees of Mars Wrigley. Rather, they were outside contractors performing maintenance work on a vat used to make Dove chocolate. The tank was partially filled with chocolate at the time of the accident. 

OSHA Violations

The OSHA Violation Detail states that one of Mars Wrigley’s own employees was involved with “the control of hazardous energy” in the tank. And that the company failed to ensure that that employee understood “the type and magnitude of the energy for the task.” 

Additionally, entry into the tank is permitted. The two outside employees needed to verify that any flowable material in the tank was isolated prior to entry. The chocolate manufacturer failed to provide the two contractors, who were cleaning the vat, “with the correct energy control procedure or work authorization permit” required to safely enter and work in the tank.

Isolating Flowable Hazards

The techniques used to isolate confined spaces with flowable hazards are found in paragraph (b) of 29 CFR 1910.146. These techniques are blanking or blinding; misaligning or removing sections of lines or pipes; or a double block and bleed system.

Mars Fined

This incident at the Mars Wrigley plant occurred in June of 2022. After an investigation, OSHA levied a fine of $14,500 in December.

OSHA News Releases - Enforcement

OSHA, a regulatory agency within the U.S. Department of Labor, employs training, inspections, and fines to ensure safe working conditions. In a previous blog post on workplace safety, we looked at an incident that took place in July 2022 at a Caterpillar foundry in Texas. One employee was killed. OSHA found that Caterpillar failed to address fall hazards.

OSHA News Releases

In this blog, we will look at OSHA’s news releases on enforcement. These releases contain news briefs that update the public on OSHA’s enforcement. They also contain trade releases that serve as reminders or updates to regulatory or record-keeping practices. And national or regional releases disclosing employer violations and penalties.

Dollar General

As of this writing, there are two national releases in January 2023. The latest concerns Dollar General. Stores in Florida and Alabama had merchandise blocking exit routes. This creates fire and entrapment hazards for workers. And the store in Alabama also had boxes stored in unstable stacks, creating struck-by hazards. The proposed fines for these hazards are roughly $387,000. Since 2017, OSHA inspections of Dollar General, and its subsidiary Dolgencorp, have led to more than $15 million in fines.


The second national release reported on ergonomic hazards at three Amazon warehouses in Florida, Illinois, and New York. According to the release, “OSHA investigators found Amazon warehouse workers at high risk for lower back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders” due to repetitive lifting of heavy packages and the awkward movements required to complete tasks.

Regional Releases

The rest of the news releases come from OSHA’s regional offices. Steam explosions at two foundries in Ohio led to severe injuries and deaths. OSHA determined one company did not provide proper training or personal protective equipment. The second company failed to implement safety procedures that could have prevented the explosion caused when water mixed with molten metal.

Other violations included failure to deenergize electrical equipment, which resulted in a fatal arc flash; exposure to respiratory and confined space hazards at a company that supplies malt to breweries; and exposure to deadly falls at a roofing company in New Jersey.

Hazards and Responsibilities

OSHA publishes these enforcement releases because they are required to do so under the Freedom of Information Act. But they serve as a reminder of the hazards workers routinely face, the procedures and equipment that employers are required to provide employees in order to minimize or prevent such hazards, and the loss of life that can occur when employers neglect these responsibilities.

Why You Should Take Our Online Courses

In the fall of 2021, we started offering online courses both accredited and non-accredited. These online courses are self-paced, affordable, and easy to navigate. While our self-paced online courses are a great alternative to in-person classes during the pandemic, there are benefits to taking these even when the world is normal.


While taking our online courses, it is your choice when you start, stop, or continue within the modules. The only time constraint is, once you start the course you must finish within a two-week period per EPA rules. This allows you to start and finish the course whenever is convenient to you. Whether that be in the morning, afternoon or the middle of the night.

No Travel Needed

In-person training courses can sometimes require our trainers to travel to you or you and your company to come to us in Lawrence, KS. The online courses allow you to take the courses from the comfort of your home, your office or even on the go.

No Need to Miss Work

Often with in-person courses you will need to plan around when you have down-time at work. If you take the online classes, there is the option of taking the classes over the weekends or holidays. This allows you and your employees to free up your work days.

Meets Multiple Learning Styles

Another great advantage to taking our courses online, is that it is designed to meet multiple learning styles so that you are always engaged and never bored. We use check-in questions, animation, video and lecturing for you to interact with the courses

META is now offering online classes for Asbestos Inspector Refresher, Asbestos Supervisor Refresher, Asbestos Worker Refresher, Asbestos Management PIanner Refresher, Asbestos Project Design Refresher, for select states’ accreditation. We also offer LEA Designated Person and 2-Hour Asbestos Awareness both of which are un-accredited. Sign-up today!

Asbestos & Environmental Agencies

When talking about asbestos, mold, lead and other environmental issues, many different government agencies and programs come up. In other blogs we have mentioned the CDC, EPA OSHA, & AHERA. There are differences in all of these agencies, some are related, others are not.


In relation to all environmental agencies, the EPA is the one government agency to know about. EPA stands for Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA came to be on December 7, 1970 by President Richard Nixon in response to concerns about air and water pollution. In fact, part of these concerns came from astronauts providing photos of Earth from space, showing the effects of pollution.


With the establishment of the EPA, several committees, laws and regulations have been introduced in relation to environmental laws over the last few decades. One set of those laws is AHERA. AHERA stands for “Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act”. AHERA came to be in 1986 to help protect students, faculty, staff and employees against asbestos exposure on school property. The reason why AHERA came to be was to put regulations in place for asbestos management in public schools, K-12 and higher education.


Additionally, there is OSHA, the organization mentioned most in these blog posts. OSHA stands for “Occupational Safety and Health Administration”. OSHA came to be in 1971 by President Richard Nixon. The purpose of OSHA is to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and also by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.


Finally, we have the CDC. The CDC being the Center of Disease Control. In 1946, Joseph Walter Mountin who was a physician and United States Public Health Service officer became the founder of the CDC. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the CDC was founded to address diseases such as malaria.

In order to properly understand where asbestos environmental or asbestos laws and regulations come from, you need to know where they started. Whether it be OSHA, AHERA, CDC or the EPA, knowing what these governmental entities are and what they entail matters.