The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) has undertaken a campaign to prevent heat illness in outdoor workers. HEAT ILLNESS CAN BE DEADLY. Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. These illnesses and deaths are preventable. OSHA has instituted a nationwide outreach campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather.
In an effort to help reach workers and employers in your community, OSHA reminds all outdoor workers and employers of the following:
- Who is affected? Workers exposed to hot and humid conditions are at risk of heat illness, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky protective clothing and equipment. Some workers might be at greater risk than others if they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions.
- What is heat illness? The body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating isn’t enough. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels if precautions are not taken. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.
- How can heat illness be prevented? Remember three simple words: water, rest, shade. Drinking water often, taking breaks, and limiting time in the heat can help prevent heat illness. Employers should include these prevention steps in worksite training and plans. Gradually build up to heavy work in hot conditions. This helps you build tolerance to the heat–or become acclimated. Employers should take steps that help workers become acclimated, especially workers who are new to working outdoors in the heat or have been away from work for a week or more. Gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks during the first week of work. Also, it’s important to know and look out for the symptoms of heat illness in yourself and others during hot weather. Plan for an emergency and know what to do—acting quickly can save lives!
Dangerous working conditions put workers at risk for serious injury. The lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., are concerned for the safety of workers in Berks County and Schuylkill County and throughout Pennsylvania, and represent injured workers in workers’ compensation claims.
Adam K. Levin, Esquire