Will Summer Heat Require Extra Steps To Comply With OSHA?


Will Summer Heat Require Extra Steps To Comply With OSHA?

With summer temperatures upon us, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has a public awareness campaign to prevent workplace injuries related to heat. OSHA does not have a specific standard for working in heat, but, under federal law, employers have a duty to protect workers from serious hazards in the workplace, including heat-related hazards.

OSHA recommends that any employer with workers in outdoor environments: (1) provide training about the hazards leading to heat stress and how to prevent them; (2) provide a lot of cool water to workers close to the work area (At least one pint of water per hour is needed); (3) schedule frequent rest periods with water breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas; (4) routinely check workers who are at risk of heat stress due to protective clothing and high temperature; and (5) consider protective clothing that is cooling.

Workers new to outdoor jobs are generally most at risk for heat-related illnesses. In almost half of the 25 incidents of heat-related illness investigated by OSHA in 2005, the worker involved was on their first day of work and in 80% of the cases the worker involved had only been on the job for four or fewer days.