Now that summer is upon us, we must remain cautious as to over exposing ourselves to the effects of the heat. OSHA has partnered up with NOAA and the NWS (National Weather Service) to prevent heat related deaths and illness. Every year, dozens of workers die from excessive exposure to heat and many more become ill. About one-third of heat related deaths occurred in the construction industry. Workers in every outdoor field are susceptible to the dangers of heat as well.
OSHA’s Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels, asked meteorologists to incorporate this safety message into their broadcasts. Employers are responsible for providing a workplace that is free of excessive heat. This means providing employees with regular breaks to cool down and access to water so they can stay hydrated.
Dr. Michaels also stated that “We have found that most work-related heat deaths occur in the first few days of working in the heat. That’s why it’s important for employers to gradually build tolerance to the heat. This is true for new, temporary, and even seasoned workers who have been away from the heat for a week or more, or at the beginning of a heat wave.”
OSHA also worked with the National Weather Service to develop a smartphone app on heat safety that allows users to calculate risk levels at their work site and learn measures to prevent heat illness from occurring.