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Keep it cool while on the job

With summer temperatures hear that can reach into the 90s during heat waves, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is reminding employers to protect workers that may be exposed to extreme heat while working outdoors or hot indoor environments.

Each year, thousands of workers suffer the effects of heat exposure and, in some cases, die as a result.

“Employers can take a few easy steps to prevent heat illness including scheduling frequent water breaks, allowing ample time to rest, and providing shade,” said Ken Nishiyama Atha, OSHA’s Regional Administrator in Chicago.

A majority of recent heat-related deaths often involve workers on the job for three days or less – highlighting the need for employers to ensure that new workers become acclimated to the heat when starting or returning to work.

To prevent heat related illness and fatalities:

– Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.

– Rest in the shade to cool down.

– Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.

– Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.

– Keep an eye on fellow workers.

“Easy does it” on your first days of work in the heat. You need to get used to it.

The risk of heat stress increases for workers 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications.

Working in full sunlight can increase heat index values by 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep this in mind and plan additional precautions for working in these conditions. Those employed in hot indoor environments such as firefighters, bakers, factory and boiler room workers, are also at risk when temperatures rise.

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