OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
OSHA National News Release
U.S. Department of Labor
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 extremely uncomfortable.
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: (202) 219-8151.
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