“Summer is a time to be enjoyed, but it's also a season that can present unique hazards to those who work outdoors or in very hot environments,” said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. “Our job is to help educate employers and workers to learn how to reduce heat-related illnesses and fatalities. Simple precautions can often save lives.”
The combination of heat, humidity, and physical labor can lead to fatalities, says OSHA. The two most serious forms of heat related illnesses are heat exhaustion (primarily from dehydration) and heat stroke. Signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke need immediate attention. Recognizing those warning signs and taking quick action can make a difference in preventing a fatality.
“Working Outdoors” is a new OSHA fact sheet that offers advice on ways to protect against exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV), precautions to take if working in extreme heat, and how to protect against Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus.
OSHA's “Heat Stress Card” lists tips and precautions to prevent many heat-related deaths and injuries. Available in English and Spanish, this laminated fold-up card is free to employers to distribute to their workers. It offers a quick reference about heat-related injuries, including warning signs, symptoms, and early treatment.
“Protecting Yourself Against Harmful Sunlight” is a pocket card that explains how to perform self-examinations to detect early stages of skin cancer. The card, available in English and Spanish, also describes common physical features of skin cancer that can be caused by exposure to the sun.
These publications can be downloaded from the agency’s Web site www.osha.gov or obtained from the OSHA publications office, Rm. N3101, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20210.
More information about heat and sun hazards can be found on OSHA's Web site and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site www.cdc.gov and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) site www.cdc.gov/niosh.
Publication date: 08/04/2003