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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OSHA News Release: [07/11/2011]
Contact Name: Emilia Pablo-Montano or Jesse Lawder
Phone Number: (202) 693-4660 or 4659
Release Number: 11-1054-NAT

Statement by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on excessive heat across the country

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement regarding record temperatures across the country:

"Record heat is hitting the nation, putting outdoor workers at risk of heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Plan now so that you can take the precautions needed to protect outdoor workers during this heat wave:

  • Have a work site plan to prevent heat-related illnesses and make sure that medical services are available to respond to an emergency should one occur.
  • Provide plenty of water at the job site and remind workers to drink small amounts of water frequently — every 15 minutes.
  • Schedule rest breaks throughout the work shift and provide shaded or air conditioned rest areas near the work site.
  • Let new workers get used to the extreme heat, gradually increasing the work load over a week.
  • When possible, schedule heavy tasks for earlier in the day.

"Tell workers what to look for to spot the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke in themselves and their co-workers, and make sure they know what to do in an emergency. OSHA has fact sheets and posters that illustrate the signs of heat-related illnesses, and the steps that you can take to prevent them at your work site.

"Remember: water, rest, shade — the three keys to preventing heat-related illnesses in this extreme heat."

Editor's note: OSHA has posted educational materials about heat-related illnesses, including a curriculum for workplace training, at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/. Video and audio public service announcements can be downloaded at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/mediaresources.html. All of these materials are available in English and Spanish.