Summer is Coming. And OSHA Wants to Help Workers to Beat the Heat
It may not be officially summer just yet, but with the rising temperatures and bright sunny days, it is just around the corner. And while the summer heat means days spent at the beach and backyard barbeques, it also means an increased risk of heat-related illness and death. According to OSHA, each year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill due to working in the heat. While the majority of these incidents are from the construction industry, this issue affects all industries that involve outdoor work. To raise awareness and help protect workers, OSHA has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service. This is the fifth year these organizations have joined together to raise awareness in the prevention of heat-related injury and death at the workplace.
The focus of this initiative is to educate workers and employers about the dangers of overexposure to heat and the precautions that can prevent it from happening. This includes the causes and symptoms of heat-illness, prevention measures, as well as tips for employers to better protect workers and provide a safer work environment. Most importantly, the initiative stresses that in order to prevent heat-related injury, workers need acclimation to hotter temperatures, as well as access to water, rest, and shade at the workplace.
In addition to promoting general awareness of heat-related dangers, OSHA has worked with the National Weather Service to develop a heat-safety app that informs workers about heat-illness protection and enables them to calculate the heat risks at their workplace. This app has both IPhone and Android compatible versions and has been downloaded by almost 200,000 people so far. The most recent update to the app includes not only improved design, navigation, and accessibility, but also the ability to calculate workplace heat risks based upon temperature and humidity.
For more information, visit OSHA’s Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers webpage. OSHA also has numerous other downloadable resources that are available in both English and Spanish. These resources provide facts and training materials for use by workers and in the workplace to prevent heat-related illness and death.