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Region 4 News Release: 11-1182-ATL (397)
Aug. 12, 2011
Contact: Michael D'Aquino      Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076      404-562-2078
Email: d'aquino.michael@dol.gov      wald.michael@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA to sponsor 2 heat illness prevention training
events in August for Florida construction companies and workers
Statewide Florida safety 'stand-down' on Aug. 15

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is sponsoring two events in Florida during August to make construction company employers and workers aware of the dangers posed by excessive heat, as part of a nationwide campaign to prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths.

A Heat Illness Prevention Seminar is being held on Friday, Aug. 12, from 1-4 p.m. EDT at the Hyatt Summerfield Suites, 5710 Blue Lagoon Drive, Miami, Fla. 33126. The seminar will provide employers throughout South Florida with the resources and tools necessary to teach their employees about the importance of staying hydrated during the hot summer months, taking frequent and regular rest periods, and taking those breaks in shaded areas. Participants will hear from a panel of experts, including a local physician, on preventing and treating heat-related illnesses in the workplace.

On Monday, Aug. 15, construction companies throughout the state will be participating in a safety "stand-down," during which work will be stopped for one hour on all job sites and workers will participate in heat illness prevention training. The stand-down is a cooperative effort sponsored by OSHA's Fort Lauderdale Area Office, Coastal Construction, Physicians Health Center and SPI Safety.

The past few summers have demonstrated the challenges that hot outdoor conditions can present to workers in the construction industry. Heat-related illnesses can be a life or death issue for many workers. Even when workers do not die immediately from heat stoke, it can shut down major body organs causing acute heart, liver, kidney and muscle damage, as well as other problems. Workers suffering from heat exhaustion also are at a greater risk for accidents because they are less alert.

"Workers die from heat-related stroke or illness every year, and every one of these deaths is preventable," said Cindy Coe, OSHA's regional administrator in Atlanta. "We are glad that the construction industry recognizes the importance of this issue and is supporting OSHA's heat illness prevention campaign."

To register for the Aug. 12 seminar, visit http://heatstress.eventbrite.com. Members of the public with questions about OSHA's heat illness prevention campaign or either of these events should contact Vergie Bain, compliance assistance specialist in OSHA's Fort Lauderdale office, at 954-424-0242. Members of the media with questions or who wish to cover either event should contact Michael D'Aquino or Michael Wald in the Labor Department's Office of Public Affairs using the information above.

Additional information on OSHA's campaign to prevent heat illness in outdoor workers also is available online, in English and Spanish, at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html.

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.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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