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How to work safely in the heat

As temperatures climb, keep three things in mind: Water. Rest. Shade.

posted July 26, 2018

Remind workers to drink water often (about one cup every 15-20 minutes). With recent heat warnings, Oregon employers may be wondering how to keep outdoor workers safe.

Hot weather can be a problem for anyone. New workers, and those who perform strenuous activity or wear heavy protective clothing, have an even greater risk of heat-related illnesses.

Here's what OSHA recommendsHere’s what OSHA recommends:

  • Schedule frequent breaks in a cool, shaded area.
  • Remind workers to drink water often (about one cup every 15-20 minutes). Avoid beverages with sugar and caffeine, which can increase dehydration.
  • Acclimatize inexperienced workers (no more than 20 percent exposure on day one; increasing no more than 20 percent each day).
  • If the heat index hits 103 degrees or higher, reschedule outdoor work to the coolest part of the shift. Move nonessential tasks to a cooler day.
  • Set up a buddy system and monitor workers for signs of heat-related illness.

Download OSHA’s heat safety app to calculate the heat index and risk level for your worksite, and get protective measures.

Test your sun safety knowledge with our interactive game.

Visit our health and safety site to learn more about preventing heat- and cold-related injuries.

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