WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor''s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has kicked off a national outreach initiative to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather, according to a press release.
The outreach effort builds on last year''s successful summer campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of too much sun and heat, the release stated.
According to the release, 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.
"It is essential for workers and employers to take proactive steps to stay safe in extreme heat and become aware of symptoms of heat exhaustion before they get worse," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
"Agriculture workers; building, road and other construction workers; utility workers; baggage handlers; roofers; landscapers; and others who work outside are all at risk. Drinking plenty of water and taking frequent breaks in cool, shaded areas are incredibly important in the hot summer months," Michaels added.
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, the release noted.
OSHA also has released a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites, which 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, the release added.
Click here to read the complete release.