News Release Archive
Updated Info, New App Advance OSHA's Annual Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers
Jul 07, 2015
Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. Construction is one of the industries most affected by heat-related illness. Because employers are responsible for providing workplaces that are safe from excessive heat, OSHA has conducted an annual campaign to prevent heat illness in outdoor workers every summer for the past several years, and the 2015 version is now in full swing, with updated information and a brand-new Heat Safety Tool Smartphone App.
How can heat illness be prevented?
OSHA says employers should establish a complete heat illness prevention program to protect outdoor workers. This includes:
- providing workers with water, rest and shade
- gradually increasing workloads and allowing more frequent breaks for new workers or workers who have been away for a week or more to build a tolerance for working in the heat (acclimatization)
- modifying work schedules as necessary
- training workers about the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and their prevention
- monitoring workers for signs of illness, and
- planning for emergencies.
OSHA's advice for workers on how to prevent heat related illness and fatalities includes:
- Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
- Rest in the shade to cool down.
- Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
- Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
- Keep an eye on fellow workers.
- "Easy does it" on your first days of work in the heat. You need to get used to it.
Learn more from OSHA's Heat Illness Webpage
New Heat Safety Tool Smartphone App
This 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.
It's free for downloading from GooglePlay and iTunes and can be adjusted for Spanish.
Reminder: Working in full sunlight can increase heat index values by 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep this in mind and plan additional precautions for working in these conditions.