The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is preparing for the arrival of summer by kicking off its national outreach initiative to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather. According to OSHA, every year thousands of workers across the country suffer from serious heat-related illnesses.
The Dangers of Heat
Labor-intensive activities in hot weather can raise body temperatures beyond the level that normally can be cooled by sweating. Heat illness initially may manifest as heat rash or heat cramps, but quickly can become heat exhaustion and then heat stroke if simple prevention steps are not followed. Heat stroke has killed, on average, more than 30 workers annually since 2003.
Keeping Outdoor Workers Safe
In preparation for the summer season, OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. Information and resources on heat illness for workers and employers, including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency, can be found on OSHA’s heat illness website.
More information on workplace injury and illness prevention can be found in our section on Developing a Safety & Health Program.