The Indian Meteorological Department has issued a heatwave warning for several states amid one of India’s “hottest summer ever”. On top of that, frequent power cuts have added to people’s woes. With a large section of the country, especially those in the north and northwest, reeling from temperatures soaring to 45°C or more, an advisory for companies and workers to protect against the searing heat has been issued.
In order for everyone to acclimatise to a hotter climate, which usually takes weeks, the advisory urges employees not to work for more than three hours a day for the first five days. The work and time can be increased gradually over the next few days.
Companies have also been urged to train their employees on recognising factors that may increase the risk of heat-related illness and the symptoms and signs of heat stress. They have also been advised to start a “buddy system” since the employees are not likely to notice their own symptoms.
The companies have been advised to make available trained first aid providers and put in place an emergency response plan in case of heat-related illnesses. On the other hand, pregnant workers, employees with prior medical conditions, or those taking certain medication should discuss with their doctors before working in the heat.
Those working outdoors have been advised to wear light-coloured clothing that fully covers the body. They have also been urged to cover their heads to protect from direct sunlight.
The companies have also been issued an advisory to organise awareness campaigns for employees and install temperature gauges and weather forecast displays at the workplace. They have also been asked to issue informational pamphlets and conduct training for employees on the health impacts of working in the extreme heat and steps to protect themselves from the soaring temperatures.