OSHA's 2014 Heat Safety Campaign Under Way

The agency has begun this year's campaign aimed at preventing heat-related illnesses.

OSHA has launched its annual Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers ("Water. Rest. Shade."). Held for the fourth consecutive year, the campaign raises awareness and educates workers and employers about the dangers of working in hot weather. The campaign also provides resources and guidance so that employers and workers can properly address dangers caused by heat-related illness.

The campaign stresses the importance of water, rest, shade, and acclimatization when preventing heat illness and fatalities. It encourages employers in industries such as construction, transportation, agriculture, and landscaping to take various steps to protect their workers, such as scheduling frequent water breaks, providing shade, and allowing time for rest.

According to OSHA, there were 31 heat-related worker deaths and 4,120 heat-related worker illnesses in 2012. In order to prevent them, the agency has released a free mobile app so employers can monitor the heat index at their workplace and has been stressing acclimatization, as well.

"Acclimatization is a physical change that the body undergoes to build tolerance to heat, and it is a critical part of preventing heat illnesses and fatalities," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Over the past three years, lack of acclimatization was the cause in 74 percent of heat-related citations issued. Employers have a responsibility to provide workplaces that are safe from recognized hazards, including outdoor heat."

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