Photos by: CAL-OSHA
Welcome to OSHA's Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers
HEAT ILLNESS CAN BE DEADLY. Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. These illnesses and deaths are preventable.
OSHA's nationwide Heat Illness Prevention Campaign aims to raise awareness and teach workers and employers about the dangers of working in hot weather and provide valuable resources to address these concerns. Begun in 2011, the Heat Illness Prevention Campaign has reached more than 7 million people and distributed close to half a million fact sheets, posters, quick cards, training guides and wallet cards. OSHA is again joining with other federal and state agencies and non-governmental organizations to spread the word about preventing heat illness. For example, OSHA is continuing its partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service to include worker safety precautions in their Excessive Heat Watch, Warning, and Advisory Products.
Available on this web page are numerous resources that can be used to prevent heat illnesses:
The Heat Illness web page and many resources are available en español.
We hope you will join with us in this effort by helping to reach workers and employers in your community with the resources you will find on this site.
Who is affected? Workers exposed to hot and humid conditions are at risk of heat illness, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky protective clothing and equipment. Some workers might be at greater risk than others if they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions.
What is heat illness? The body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating isn't enough. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels if precautions are not taken. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention and can result in death.
How can heat illness be prevented? Remember three simple words: water, rest, shade. Employers should educate their workers on how drinking water often, taking breaks, and limiting time in the heat can help prevent heat illness. They should include these prevention steps in worksite training and plans. Employers should also teach employees to gradually build up to heavy work in hot conditions because this helps you build tolerance to the heat - or become acclimated. They should take steps that help workers become acclimated, especially workers who are new to working outdoors in the heat or have been away from work for a week or more. Lastly, during the first week of work, employers should gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks. You should plan for an emergency and know what to do - acting quickly can save lives!