The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched its annual campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of working in hot weather.
The program includes educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training (also available in both English and Spanish).
The message boils down to a short mantra: "Water, Rest and Shade. More specifically, to prevent heat illness.:
- 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.
While simple, it's serious. "Heat-related illnesses can be fatal, and employers are responsible for keeping workers safe," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Employers can take a few easy steps to save lives, including scheduling frequent water breaks, providing shade and allowing ample time to rest."
To help assess the risk, OSHA recommends that workers and supervisors monitor the heat index, and the agency has released a free application for mobile devices. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level.