Protecting Workers from the Heat

05.16.2011
HR & Safety

In preparation for the summer months, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a national campaign to educate workers and employers about the hazards of working outdoors in the heat.

If you’re working outdoors, you’re at risk for heat-related illnesses that can cause serious medical problems and even death, says OSHA. But heat illness can be prevented. The agency says its new campaign has a simple message: water, rest, and shade.

Each year, thousands of outdoor workers experience heat illness, which often manifests as heat exhaustion. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which killed more than 30 workers last year.

Heat can be a real danger for workers in jobs ranging from agriculture and landscaping to construction, road repair, airport baggage handling, and even car sales.

As part of the campaign, OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. A new web page provides information and resources on heat illness, including prevention and what to do in case of an emergency. To view the page: www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html.

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