What’s cooking in the U.S.? The western states.

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The heat is on the minds of millions this summer and no, we’re not talking about the recent NBA champs, the Miami Heat. Record-breaking temperatures and sweltering heat has gripped the western United States this past weekend, with no sign of relief for the Fourth of July holiday ahead.

Source: NOAA / MorgueFile.com

Source: NOAA / MorgueFile.com

From Las Vegas claiming a new record for the hottest June in history, including a record-tying 117 degree reading for Sin City on Sunday, June 30, to California’s Death Valley National Park experiencing a 129 degree temperature reading the same day (another June record for the entire country), the West has become a frying pan for residents. With the 2012 heat wave still on the minds of millions, health officials are warning people to be extremely careful when going outdoors out of concern about  dehydration, heat stroke and even burns caused from hot concrete and asphalt, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Construction, shale and utility companies operating outside are also paying close attention to the scorching heat wave that is captivating the United States. To keep employees safe and avoid hospital visits for heat exhaustion, cramps or even stroke, many companies are introducing various heat indices to measure the environmental strain on workers. Utilized by ImpactWeather clients, Thermal Work Limit (TWL) is a simple and reliable heat index for companies to measure thermally stressful environments on workers, and assist site managers in making appropriate decisions.

Originally introduced by Dr. Graham Bates and Dr. Derrick Brake, TWL was developed to maximize a company’s production without compromising the health and safety of workers who were operating in a thermally stressful environment. High environmental stress such as heat not only contributes to safety incidents, but also to lowered productivity and poor morale among personnel according to Dr. Bates. The Thermal Work Limit is a heat stress index that involves an individual’s metabolic rate, core body temperature, and sweat rate. Recognition of the TWL is designed to reduce hospital visits, injury and death related to extremely hot temperatures.

As the thermometer continues to rise across much of the United States, companies operating outdoors should be aware of the effect of heat on employees and if they haven’t already, look into initializing a plan to measure thermal stress environments on employees. It might help avoid a safety incident, or, more importantly, save a life.

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