Beat the Heat with OSHA's Heat Stress Card
Precautions and Quick Action Could Save Lives In Hot Summer Weather
Working in hot environments can be dangerous, but taking simple precautions can prevent many heat-related deaths and injuries. Workers in industries such as laundries, foundries, bakeries and construction projects, face conditions that make them especially vulnerable to safety and health hazards. Higher summer temperatures increase those risks.
The combination of heat, humidity and physical labor can lead to fatalities. In 2000, 21 workers died and 2,554 others experienced heat-related occupational injuries and illnesses serious enough to miss work. Additional illnesses may be under-reported if workers and employers are not familiar with the warning signs.
"We want to help employers and workers learn how to reduce illnesses and fatalities related to heat," said John Henshaw, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "Education and training can save lives."
The two most serious forms of heat related illnesses are heat exhaustion (primarily from dehydration) and heat stroke, which could be fatal. Signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke need immediate attention. Recognizing those signs -- dizziness, nausea, weakness, dry, pale skin or hot red skin, seizures, mood changes -- and taking quick action, can make a difference in preventing a fatality.
OSHA's Heat Stress Card lists tips and precautions that can prevent many heat-related deaths and injuries. Available in English and Spanish, this laminated fold-up card is free to employers to distribute to their workers. It offers a quick reference about heat-related injuries, including warning signs, symptoms and early treatment:
How to Protect Workers
OSHA's Heat Stress Card in English or Spanish is available on OSHA's website. For copies of the laminated card, available without charge, call OSHA Publications (202) 693-1888 or write to: U.S. Department of Labor/OSHA, OSHA Publications, P.O. Box 37535 Washington, D.C. 20013-7535.
More information about heat and sun hazards can be found on OSHA's website and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) www.cdc.gov and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) www.cdc.gov/niosh