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OSHA reminds employers of importance of heat acclimation

Summer is in full swing – and so is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Heat Illness Prevention Campaign. In early July, OSHA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service held a news conference with weather professionals to help inform employers about the dangers of heat stress and ways to prevent them. One of the key issues highlighted in this conference was the need for temporary and new workers to be particularly careful when working in the heat.

“Whenever there is high heat, outdoor workers are at an increased risk for heat-related illness,” explained Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “The workers who are most at risk for heat-related illnesses are those who are new to outdoor jobs, especially temporary workers. Once a worker is acclimated to heat, their risk is lower. Seasonal workers can be considered new even if they have been working every season for several years.”

OSHA recommends increasing a new employee’s workload gradually. This allows workers’ bodies to properly adjust and develop heat tolerance.

Help protect workers in hot weather by training them to understand risks, teaching the signs of heat-related illness, and providing heat stress relief products.