News Release USDL: 95-273
Tuesday, July 18, 1995
Contact: Deborah Page Crawford, (202) 219-8151
OSHA Reminds Employers To Protect Employees Against Heat Stress
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) is urging employers to take precautions
against heat-related illnesses during the current deadly heat wave.
As a result of temperatures soaring at times above the 100-degree
mark, OSHA has been receiving numerous calls from employees working
in hot environments.
Employers whose workers are employed in hot environments--laundries,
construction projects, bakeries, to name a few--can help
prevent heat-related illnesses, like some heat stress and heat
exhaustion, by following some simple guidelines.
Ventilation and spot cooling by local exhaust ventilation at
points of high heat production, can be very helpful. Cooling fans
can also reduce heat.
Several work practices can be helpful. Plenty of drinking
water--as much as a quart per worker per hour--at work stations is
a major deterrent to heat disorders. In addition, training first
aid workers to recognize and treat heat stress is essential.
Supervisors should be able to detect early signs of heat-related
illness and permit workers to interrupt their work if they are
Employers should also consider a worker's physical condition
when determining fitness to work in hot environments. Older
workers, obese workers and people on some types of medication are
at greater risk.
Alternating work and rest periods, allowing for longer than
usual breaks, is another preventive for heat stress. If possible,
heavy work should be scheduled during the cooler parts of the day,
and appropriate protective clothing provided.
Finally, employee education is vital so that workers are aware
of the need to replace fluids and salt lost through perspiration.
It is important that individuals can recognize dehydration, heat
exhaustion, and heat strokes as heat disorders.
A free one-page fact sheet entitled "Protecting Workers in Hot
Environments" may be obtained by sending a self-addressed label to
the OSHA Publications Office, Room N3101, 200 Constitution Ave.,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, telephone: (202) 219-4667, (202)
219-9266 (fax) or contacting any OSHA Area Office.
The information in this news release will be made available to
sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: