OSHA Reminding Employers to Prepare for Heat Hazards

Rising temperatures across the country are putting workers at risk of heat-related illnesses and injuries, particularly workers who may not have become acclimatized to the heat, and Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels will highlight efforts by employers to protect them June 27.

OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels is holding a news conference June 27 where he will remind the nation's employers to protect their workers from dangers of extreme heat. Rising temperatures across the country are putting workers at risk of heat-related illnesses and injuries, particularly workers who may not have become acclimatized to the heat, and Michaels will highlight efforts by employers to protect them.

National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) National Safety Director Anthony Hargis and Republic Services Inc. Vice President of Safety and Environmental Compliance Jim Olson are scheduled to join Dr. Michaels on the teleconference.

During 2015, OSHA received more than 200 reports of heat-related worker hospitalizations and at least eight deaths associated with heat exposure; the agency is already investigating several worker fatalities this year. "Every heat-related death we investigate was preventable, in most cases by simply providing water, rest and shade," Michaels said. "When temperatures soar, it's vital that employers remember workers need time to develop a tolerance to the heat. In recent years, many of the heat-related fatalities we've seen occurred during the victim's first three days on the job."

OSHA's water-rest-shade campaign takes place during the summer, and the agency provides a free heat app for both iPhone and Android devices. According to the agency, NWRA recently led a nationwide safety stand-down campaign focused on heat exposure. And NWRA's water-rest-shade campaign earlier in 2016 included safety stand-downs in which about 70 percent of the entire U.S. waste hauling industry participated.

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