Protecting outdoor workers from summer heatJune 20th, 2012 at 1:38 pm by Jim Spencer under Weather
Water, rest, and shade. Those were the three critical elements highlighted in a conference call weathercasters across the nation had today with Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor, and the National Weather Service.
They asked us to speak directly to our viewers who work outdoors in the summer heat, and make sure they know the five steps to staying safe during the summer:
1. Drink water every 15 minutes, whether you’re thirsty or not
2. Take frequent rest breaks, in the shade
3. Wear a hat, and dress in light weight, light colored clothing
4. Know the signs of heat illness, and emergency treatment
5. Keep an eye on fellow workers
They also asked us to remind employers that they have a responsibility to provide regular breaks, continuous access to water, and training for their workers about heat illnesses.
Here is more information from OSHA:
Welcome to OSHA’s Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers
HEAT ILLNESS CAN BE DEADLY. Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. These illnesses and deaths are preventable.
This webpage is part of OSHA’s nationwide outreach campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather. The educational resources on this website give workers and employers information about heat illnesses and how to prevent them. There are also training tools for employers to use and posters to display at their worksites. Many of the new resources target vulnerable workers with limited English proficiency. OSHA will continue to add information and tools to this page throughout the summer.
OSHA is also partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on weather service alerts. NOAA’s Heat Watch page now includes worker safety precautions when extreme heat alerts are issued.
We invite you to join in this effort by helping to reach workers and employers in your community with the resources you will find on this site.
Who is affected? Workers exposed to hot and humid conditions are at risk of heat illness, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky protective clothing and equipment. Some workers might be at greater risk than others if they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions.
What is heat illness? The body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating isn’t enough. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels if precautions are not taken. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.
How can heat illness be prevented? Remember three simple words: water, rest, shade. Drinking water often, taking breaks, and limiting time in the heat can help prevent heat illness. Employers should include these prevention steps in worksite training and plans. Gradually build up to heavy work in hot conditions. This helps you build tolerance to the heat – or become acclimated. Employers should take steps that help workers become acclimated, especially workers who are new to working outdoors in the heat or have been away from work for a week or more. Gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks during the first week of work. Also, it’s important to know and look out for the symptoms of heat illness in yourself and others during hot weather. Plan for an emergency and know what to do — acting quickly can save lives!
NEW HEAT SAFETY APP
By U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
When you’re working in the heat, safety comes first. With the OSHA Heat Safety Tool, you have vital safety information available whenever and wherever you need it — right on your mobile phone.
The App allows workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their worksite, and, based on the heat index, displays a risk level to outdoor workers. Then, with a simple “click,” you can get reminders about the protective measures that should be taken at that risk level to protect workers from heat-related illness—reminders about drinking enough fluids, scheduling rest breaks, planning for and knowing what to do in an emergency, adjusting work operations, gradually building up the workload for new workers, training on heat illness signs and symptoms, and monitoring each other for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.
Stay informed and safe in the heat, check your risk level.
The source code for this app is available for download:
Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance with accessing the application or ZIP materials.
*These files are provided for downloading.