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Training Workers

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Train workers before hot outdoor work begins. Tailor the training topic outline to cover employer-specific policies and worksite-specific conditions. A single worksite may have some job tasks that are low risk for heat-related illness and others that are high risk. Training will be more effective if it is matched to job tasks and conditions, and is reviewed and reinforced throughout hot weather conditions. The following training topics may be addressed in one session or in a series of shorter sessions.

Training Topics:
  • Risk factors for heat-related illness.
  • Different types of heat-related illness, including how to recognize common signs and symptoms.
  • Heat-related illness prevention procedures.
  • Importance of drinking small quantities of water often.
  • Importance of acclimatization, how it is developed, and how your worksite procedures address it.
  • Importance of immediately reporting signs or symptoms of heat-related illness to the supervisor.
  • Procedures for responding to possible heat-related illness.
  • Procedures to follow when contacting emergency medical services.
  • Procedures to ensure that clear and precise directions to the work site will be provided to emergency medical services.
Factors that May Cause Heat-related Illness
Environmental
  • High temperature and humidity
  • Direct sun exposure (with no shade) or extreme heat
  • Limited air movement (no breeze or wind)
Job-Specific
  • Physical exertion
  • Use of bulky protective clothing and equipment

See Training Resources for heat-related illness prevention training tools and resources. Also see OSHA's Heat-Related Illness Prevention Training Guide (PDF*) for one tool to help you train your workers. The training guide includes instructions for teaching workers about heat hazards and a daily checklist to make sure all appropriate precautions are in place each workday. OSHA's factsheets and worksite posters (in English and Spanish) can help in communicating key messages about heat safety and health. Some labor and industry organizations offer industry-specific guidance for protecting workers, such as wildland firefighters (PDF), that face heat exposure under special circumstances. Inquire whether your industry offers any special guidance, or adapt information from industries with similar situations.

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Heat Index Risk Level Protective Measures
Less than 91°F Lower (Caution) Basic heat safety and planning
91°F to 103°F Moderate Implement precautions and heighten awareness
103°F to 115°F High Additional precautions to protect workers
Greater than 115°F Very High to Extreme Triggers even more aggressive protective measures

How can OSHA help? Workers have a right to a safe workplace. If you think your job is unsafe or you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). It's confidential. We can help. If you have been punished or discriminated against for using your rights, such as raising health and safety concerns or filing a complaint, you must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days. No form is required, but you must call or send a letter to OSHA within 30 days of the alleged discrimination. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.

OSHA also provides help to employers. OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. For more information or for additional compliance assistance contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). It's confidential. We can help.


*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300.

**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.

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