OSHA Resources for Protecting Workers from Heat
From a free app to educational web pages, OSHA offers ways to keep your workers safe.
- By Alex Saurman
- May 12, 2022
Temperatures are on the rise in many areas of the country. For some people, that means potential exposure to heat illness, a problem that affects workers every year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 344 workers died from heat exposure from 2011-2019, 43 in 2019 alone. Deaths like these are preventable with the right knowledge and safety plans.
OSHA has many resources for employers looking to keep workers safe. One of the resources OSHA provides is the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool. This free app calculates heat index and displays the risk level to workers at the site. It also provides protective measures for the risk level. The app can be downloaded on iPhones and Android devices and is available in two languages, English and Spanish.
A second resource OSHA offers is a resource page with educational information, OSHA’s Occupational Heat Exposure page. Employers can use this page to learn more about heat illness and what they can do for their workers.
According to a press release, OSHA has a simple message for keeping workers safe: Water. Rest. Shade.
- “Encourage workers to drink water every 15 minutes.
- Take frequent rest breaks in the shade to cool down.
- Have an emergency plan ready to respond when a worker shows signs of heat-related illness.
- Train workers on the hazards of heat exposure, and how to prevent illness.
- Allow workers to build a tolerance for working in heat.”
In April 2022, OSHA started the national emphasis program to work with 70 high-risk industries to prevent worker heat and injury and, under the on-site consultation program, to assist others in creating guidelines.
Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.