Protect employees from dangerous summer heat

As outdoor temperatures continue to rise this summer, so does the risk of heat-related illness and death. Employees who work outdoors must deal with environmental factors that may cause serious danger including working in direct sunlight, high temperatures and humidity, physical exertion and lack of sufficient water intake.

Overexposure to heat can cause heat cramps, rashes, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Symptoms of heat exposure include confusion, irrational behavior, loss of consciousness, dry skin and abnormally high body temperature. Simple actions like drinking cool water, reducing physical exertion, wearing appropriate clothing and taking regular rest breaks in a cool area can lessen the dangerous effects of working in hot summer temperatures.

To help combat heat-related illness and injuries, OSHA has published two fact sheets: Protecting Workers from the Effects of Heat and Working Outdoors in Warm Climates. Both fact sheets can be downloaded from the OSHA site and offer tips on how to protect employees from the dangers associated with the outdoors and summer heat.

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