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Hot weather is here. Extreme heat can be dangerous. In 2011, thousands of workers in the United States got sick from exposure to excessive heat on the job, and more than 60 workers died. These illnesses and deaths can be prevented by taking some simple precautions.
BEAT THE HEAT: THREE SIMPLE STEPS
When working outside during hot weather, remember these three things:
- WATER: You need plenty of water throughout the day—every 15 minutes. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty.
- REST: Rest breaks help your body recover.
- SHADE: Resting in the shade or in air-conditioning helps you cool down.
HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS: KNOW THE SIGNS
It’s important to know the signs of heat-related illness—acting quickly can prevent more serious medical conditions and may even save lives.
- Heat Stroke is the most serious heat-related illness and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms include: confusion, fainting, seizures, very high body temperature and hot, dry skin or profuse sweating.
CALL 911 if a coworker shows signs of heat stroke.
- Heat Exhaustion is also a serious illness. Symptoms include: headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, thirst and heavy sweating. Heat fatigue, and heat rash are less serious, but they are still signs of too much heat exposure.
If you or a coworker has symptoms of heat-related illness, tell your supervisor right away.
If you can, move the person to a shaded area loosen his/her clothing, give him/her water (a little at a time), and cool him/her down with ice packs or cool water.
OSHA can help. Visit www.osha.gov for worker fact sheets, worksite posters,
and other resources on preventing heat-related illness, in both English
and Spanish. If you have questions, call OSHA. It's confidential.
Call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit www.osha.gov to learn
more about staying healthy in the heat.
Illustration credits: Cal/OSHA
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