As temperatures rise, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding employers to protect their employees from the dangers of working in hot weather.
OSHA’s message is simple: Water. Rest. Shade. The agency says employers should encourage workers to drink water every 15 minutes and take frequent rest breaks in shaded areas. OSHA says employers should also:
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. It also provides training resources.
The Center for Construction Research and Training has additional informational resources on its website, including resources on skin cancer, lightning and heat hazards and solutions.