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July 17, 2013
This heat is not letting up. Here's what you can do today.

With the East Coast in the grip of what forecasters are calling a “dangerous heat wave,” you need to be taking immediate action to protect those who work outdoors. Construction, maintenance, and landscaping workers are among those at risk.

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Keep reading for an OSHA checklist that can help ensure that supervisors and workers are taking the necessary steps.

It’s the heat and the humidity

This prolonged heat wave is downright dangerous for people who work outdoors in the heat and humidity. Many areas are experiencing extended periods of 90-plus-degree days, which feel even hotter because of the humidity.

If possible, shift work away from the hottest part of the day and rotate employees in and out of the heat.

OSHA has produced a checklist to ensure that workers are being properly protected.

Water and shade

  • Is there plenty of fresh, cool, drinking water located as close as possible to the workers?
  • Are water coolers refilled throughout the day?
  • Is there shade available for breaks and if workers need to recover?

Training

Do workers know:

  • Signs and symptoms of heat illness;
  • Proper precautions to prevent heat illness;
  • The importance of acclimatization;
  • The importance of drinking water frequently, even when they don’t feel thirsty; and
  • Steps to take if someone is showing signs of heat illness?

Emergencies

  • Does everyone know whom to notify if there is an emergency?
  • Can workers explain their location if they need to call an ambulance?
  • Does everyone know who will provide first aid?

Worker reminders

  • Drink water often.
  • Rest in the shade.
  • Report heat symptoms early.
  • Know what to do in an emergency.
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