US Department of Labor's OSHA announces safety stand-down at Florida
work sites on June 4 to focus on heat-related illnesses and injuries
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, trade associations and employers throughout Florida are conducting a one-hour safety stand-down at construction sites and workplaces on Tuesday, June 4, to raise awareness about the dangers of working in the summer heat. Workers will voluntarily stop work from 7 to 8 a.m. EDT to conduct safety training focused on the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and preventive steps to take while working in the hot weather.
Every year, thousands of workers across the country suffer from serious heat-related illnesses. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which has killed - on average - more than 30 workers annually since 2003. Labor-intensive activities in hot weather can raise body temperatures beyond the level that normally can be cooled by sweating. Heat illness initially may manifest as heat rash or heat cramps. It quickly can become heat exhaustion and then heat stroke if simple prevention steps are not followed.
"This stand-down is intended for all those who work in hot weather, such as workers in agriculture, construction, baggage handling, roofing and landscaping, and others who work outdoors," said Teresa Harrison, OSHA's acting regional administrator for the Southeast. "It is the employer's responsibility to protect workers from injury and illness."
In preparation for the summer season, OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. Additionally, a Web page provides information and resources on heat illness, including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency, for workers and employers. The page is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html.
OSHA has released a free app for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. Available for the Android-based platform, Blackberry and the iPhone, the app can be downloaded in both English and Spanish by visiting http://s.dol.gov/RI.
To register for the event, visit http://www.safe305.com/Download.html.
Members of the public interested in more information about OSHA's heat illness prevention campaign or this event should contact Jeff Romeo, acting area director of OSHA's Jacksonville Area Office, at 904-232-2895; Les Grove, area director of OSHA's Tampa Area Office, at 813-626-1177; or Brian Sturtecky, acting area director of OSHA's Ft. Lauderdale Area Office, at 954-424-0242.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 216-893-7828 or TTY 216-893-7755.