June 22, 2009
Contact: Office of Communications
OSHA offers tips on working safely in hot weather
WASHINGTON -- Those hot, hazy days of summer are approaching. The heat can be especially harmful for those who work outdoors in direct sunlight or in hot environments, making them susceptible to heat-induced illnesses such as heat stress, heat exhaustion or the more serious heat stroke.
"Working in extreme temperatures is not only uncomfortable, it can be life-threatening," said acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab. "As we move into the summer months, it is important for workers and their employers to minimize the chances of heat-induced illnesses, and imperative that they recognize the signs of heat stress and take proper precautions to reduce the chances of illness or death."
High temperature and humidity, physical exertion and lack of sufficient water intake can lead to heat-related stress. Symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke include confusion, irrational behavior, loss of consciousness, abnormally high body temperature and hot, dry skin.
OSHA advises workers to take preventive measures such as reducing physical exertion and wearing light, loose-fitting clothing. The agency advises employers to provide workers with water and regular rest periods in a cool recovery area.
"Protecting Workers from the Effects of Heat" and "Working Outdoors in Warm Climates" are OSHA fact sheets that explain heat stress and provide recommendations to protect workers from exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Employers and workers will find more practical tips for guarding against UV radiation in "Protecting Yourself in the Sun," a pocket-sized card addressing various forms of skin cancer. These publications are free and can be downloaded from OSHA's Publications page.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.