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A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ComplianceSigns.com ®

May 22, 2012

New OSHA Campaign Targets Heat-related Illness and Death

OSHA Heat Safety PosterOSHA has kicked off a national outreach initiative to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather. Every year, thousands of workers across the country suffer from serious heat-related illnesses. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which has killed - on average - more than 30 workers annually since 2003.

"It is essential for workers and employers to take proactive steps to stay safe in extreme heat, and become aware of symptoms of heat exhaustion before they get worse," said OSHA head Dr. David Michaels. "Agriculture workers; building, road and other construction workers; utility workers; baggage handlers; roofers; landscapers and others who work outside are all at risk. Drinking plenty of water and taking frequent breaks in cool, shaded areas are incredibly important in the hot summer months."

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.

OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, a workplace training curriculum and a web page with information and resources on heat illness. OSHA also has released a free mobile phone app that lets workers and supervisors monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. Available for Android-based platforms and the iPhone, the app can be downloaded in both English and Spanish.
                   

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