CDC Report Highlights Need for Acclimatization

The report was on OSHA's review of heat-related enforcement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's review of 20 heat-related enforcement cases from 2012 to 2013. OSHA's analysis suggests that the primary risk factor for heat fatalities is the lack of acclimatization programs.

Of the 13 enforcement cases involving worker fatalities, nine of the deaths occurred in the first three days of working on the job, four of them occurring on the worker's first day. In all 20 cases, heat illness prevention programs were found to be incomplete or absent and no provision was made for acclimatizing new workers to the heat. According to the DOL, acclimatization is a critical part of preventing heat illnesses and fatalities, and workers should gradually build up workloads and exposure to heat by taking frequent water breaks and rest in shade or air-conditioning.

This is year four of OSHA's national Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Workers, which tries to raise awareness among workers and employers about the risks for heat-related illness or death and provides tools to help prevent them.

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