U.S. Department of Labor Reminds Employers of the Dangers of Heat Illness
BOSTON, MA – As temperatures rise in New England, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds employers to protect their employees from the dangers of working in hot weather.
OSHA's message is simple: Water. Rest. Shade. Employers should encourage workers to drink water every 15 minutes, and take frequent rest breaks in shaded areas. Employers should:
- Encourage workers to drink water every 15 minutes; and take frequent rest breaks in the shade to cool down;
- Develop an emergency plan that explains what to do when a worker shows signs of heat-related illness;
- Train workers on the hazards of heat exposure, and how to prevent illness; and
- Allow workers to build a tolerance for working in heat.
The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool is a free, downloadable app that calculates a worksite's heat index and displays the associated risk levels. Users can receive precautionary recommendations specific to heat index risk levels to help protect employees from heat-related illness. The tool is available in English and Spanish.
OSHA's Occupational Heat Exposure page explains the symptoms of heat illness, first aid measures to provide while waiting for help, engineering controls and work practices to reduce workers' exposure to heat, and training.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.