THOUSANDS of people become sick each year and some even die from working in the heat. Heat illness most affects those who have not built up a physical tolerance to heat, and is especially dangerous for workers in agriculture, construction and transportation.
Working in hot weather can raise body temperatures past the level that normally can be cooled by sweating. Heat illness may initially appear in the form of heat rash or heat cramps—but can turn into heat exhaustion or heat stroke if preventative measures are not followed.
If your job requires working long hours outdoors this summer, make sure your employer is taking the necessary (and easy to provide) steps to keep you safe, including: scheduling frequent water breaks, providing shaded areas, and allowing enough time to rest. Remember this simple message to prevent heat illness: Water. Rest. Shade.
Want more information? The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a free “app” for mobile devices, that can help. The app uses the temperature and heat index at your worksite, and displays risk levels, signs and symptoms of heat illness and what to do in case of emergency. The app, along with other important information (in English and Spanish) is available at osha.gov/heat. North American Precis Syndicate