September 2, 2014

OSHA launches campaign to prevent heat illness

UnknownIt is getting hotter throughout the country. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a National Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Workers. Each year, thousands of workers experience heat-related illnesses and many even die working in the heat. This is preventable. That is why we need your help in raising awareness about the issues and resources available from OSHA.

Learn more and find our educational and training resources to download free in both Spanish and English at www.osha.gov/heat.

OSHA’s smartphone application calculates the heat index based on your current location, gets a risk level, and provides recommendations to prevent heat illness. Join the 130,000 others taking steps to prevent illness and download the app today.

This year we are focusing on acclimatization, the physical change that the body undergoes to build tolerance to the heat. To acclimatize, workers should get used to hot environments by gradually increasing exposure by taking frequent breaks for water and rest in the shade. During a rapid change in excessively hot weather, even experienced workers need time to acclimatize.

OSHA has found that in recent years, the lack of acclimatization led to serious heat illness or death in 74 percent of OSHA citations. Heat illness prevention programs, which can help prevent illness and death, were absent or missing elements such as acclimatization or providing potable water. New and temporary workers are even more at risk for heat-related illnesses.

Please help spread the word however you can by Tweeting or posting on Facebook using #WaterRestShade (OSHA has sample posts in its new Social Media Toolkit), or by speaking and sharing resources with your friends, family, coworkers, employees, employers and community members.

Workers have the right to a safe workplace. The OSH Act protects workers who complain to their employer, OSHA, or other government agencies about unsafe or unhealthful working conditions or environmental problems.

If a worker has been punished or discriminated against for using his or her rights, such as raising health and safety concerns including those related to excessive heat, or filing a complaint, he or she must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days.

For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers’ Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit the OSHA Workers’ Page.