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Pacific Northwest Employers Urged To Protect Workers From Heat

As temperatures rise in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds employers to protect their employees when they work in hot weather.

OSHA’s message is simple: Water. Rest. Shade. To protect their employees, employers should:

  • Encourage workers to drink water every 15 minutes.
  • Make sure workers take frequent rest breaks in the shade to cool down.
  • Develop an emergency plan that explains what to do when a worker shows signs of heat-related illness.
  • Train workers on the hazards related to heat exposure.
  • Allow workers to build a tolerance for working in heat.

The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool is a free, downloadable app that calculates a worksite’s heat index and displays the associated risk levels. Users can receive precautionary recommendations specific to heat index risk to help protect employees from heat-related illness. The tool is available in English and Spanish. Additionally, the agency developed a new poster and pamphlet on preventing heat illness at work. Both are available in English and Spanish.

OSHA’s Occupational Heat Exposure page explains the symptoms of heat illness, first aid measures to provide while waiting for help, engineering controls and work practices to reduce workers’ exposure to heat, and training.