OSHA Offers Safety Tips for Working in Summer Heat

The hot days of summer are here. Throughout the country, thousands of employees who work outdoors face the potential dangers associated with overexposure to heat. Factors such as working in direct sunlight, high temperature and humidity, physical exertion, and lack of sufficient water intake can lead to heat stress, OSHA warns.

"During the warm season, it is important to understand that exposure to heat can cause serious illness or death," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "We encourage employers and employees to take advantage of OSHA's many free resources that offer advice on how to stay healthy while working outside."

Exposure to heat can cause heat cramps and rashes. The most serious heat-related disorders are heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Symptoms include confusion; irrational behavior; loss of consciousness; hot, dry skin; and abnormally high body temperature. Drinking cool water, reducing physical exertion, wearing appropriate clothing, and taking regular rest periods in a cool recovery area can lessen the effects of working in summer heat.

"Protecting Workers from the Effects of Heat" (at www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/heat_stress.pdf) is a fact sheet explaining heat stress and how it can be prevented. The fact sheet "Working Outdoors in Warm Climates" (www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/working_outdoors.pdf) provides recommendations on how to protect employees from exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) and offers information on insect-caused illnesses such as West Nile Virus and Lyme disease. Employers and employees will find more practical tips for guarding against UV radiation in "Protecting Yourself in the Sun" (www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3166.pdf), a pocket-sized card addressing skin cancer, describing its varied forms, and suggesting ways to block UV rays.

These outdoor work-related publications and others are free and can be downloaded from the Publications page (www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.html) on OSHA's Web site or ordered from the publications office at 202-693-1888. More information can be found on the Web sites of the CDC (www.cdc.gov) and NIOSH (www.cdc.gov/niosh/).

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - July August 2022

    July / August 2022

    Featuring:

    • CONFINED SPACES
      Specific PPE is Needed for Entry and Exit
    • HAZARD COMMUNICATION
      Three Quick Steps to Better HazCom Training
    • GAS DETECTION
      Building a Chemical Emergency Toolkit
    • RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
      The Last Line of Defense
    View This Issue