Water, Rest, Shade: Keeping Workers Safe in the Heat

Denise GillinInsurance, News, Risk Management

Sponsored by Occupational Safety and Health Administration, US DOL

Every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in extreme heat or humid conditions. There are a range of heat illnesses and they can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical condition. The informal kickoff date for the campaign is the Friday before Memorial Day – this year, Friday, May 22, 2021.

Employer Responsibility to Protect Workers
Under OSHA law, employers are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety hazards. This includes protecting workers from extreme heat. An employer with workers exposed to high temperatures should establish a complete heat illness prevention program.

  • Provide workers with water, rest and shade.
  • Allow new or returning workers to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they acclimatize, or build a tolerance for working in the heat.
  • Plan for emergencies and train workers on prevention.
  • Monitor workers for signs of illness.

For more information and resources you can use, go to osha.gov/heat.

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