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OSHA Tips on Working Safely in Hot Weather



Every Monday by
Grain Journal
Editor Kendall Trump
The hot, hazy days of summer are here.

The heat can be especially harmful for those who work outdoors in direct sunlight or in hot environments, making them susceptible to heat-induced illnesses such as heat stress, heat exhaustion, or the more serious heat stroke.

"Working in extreme temperatures is not only uncomfortable, it can be life-threatening," said former OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Jordan Barab in 2016.

"As we move into the summer months, it is important for workers and their employers to minimize the chances of heat-induced illnesses, and imperative that they recognize the signs of heat stress and take proper precautions to reduce the chances of illnesses or death."

High temperatures and humidity, physical exertion, and lack of sufficient water intake can lead to heat-related stress.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke include confusion, irrational behavior, loss of consciousness, abnormally high body temperature, and hot, dry skin.

OSHA advises workers to take preventive measures such as reducing physical exertion and wearing light, loose-fitting clothing. 

The agency advises employers to provide workers with water and regular rest periods in a cool recovery area.

"Protecting Workers From The Effects of Heat" and "Workers Outdoors in Warm Climates" are OSHA fact sheets that explain heat stress and provide recommendations to protect workers from exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Employers and workers will find more practical tips for guarding against UV radiation in "Protecting Yourself in The Sun," a pocket-sized card addressing various forms of skin cancer.

These publications are free and can be downloaded from OSHA's Publications page.

OSHA Heat Illness Information

Occupational Heat Exposure

Source: OSHA; 202-693-1999.

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