OSHA, NWA team up to help prevent heat-related problems among workers
The record-setting temperatures that have been baking the Southwest from Montana to Arizona to California have moved into rarely-hot states like Oregon and Washington, thwarting the usually cooling effects of the Oregon Coast Mountains and Olympic Mountains.
The brutal heat wave has already killed one person, in Las Vegas.
Once again, the summer season is causing OSHA to partner with the NOAA National Weather Service to help employers across the country protect workers from the effects of extreme heat.
In 2011, 4,420 workers experienced heat illnesses and 61 workers died according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
With the peak of summer heat beginning, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels and NOAA's National Weather Service Director Dr. Louis Uccellini are reminding employers that heat-related illnesses can be prevented.
"Each year, thousands of workers across the country suffer from serious heat-related illnesses," said Michaels. "This can easily be prevented with water, rest, and shade. If outdoor workers take these precautions, it can mean the difference between life and death."
To help prevent heat related deaths and illness among workers, NOAA will continue to include the following language in its excessive heat warnings that are sent across the country:
To reduce risk during outdoor work, OSHA recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency – Call 911.
Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside.
When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.
Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Wear light-weight and loose-fitting clothing when possible and drink plenty of water.
For more information and to download OSHA's Heat Safety Tool smartphone app, visit OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention page. To order quantities of OSHA's heat illness educational materials in English or Spanish, call OSHA's Office of Communications at (202) 693-1999.