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Secretary of Labor speaks on intense heat in the workplace

On July 20, 2011, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis made a statement regarding the extremely high temperatures that have swept across the country and how they can impact the health and safety of outdoor workers.

"Four weeks into the summer, the nation continues to experience record heat. For outdoor workers, this means being at risk for heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke," Solis said in a recent statement. She went on to outline precautions that outdoor workers need to follow in order to remain healthy.

All outdoor workplaces should have a site plan to prevent heat-related illnesses, and they should be sure that medical services are readily available in the event of an emergency.

Solis also stated that water, rest, and shade are crucial to staying in good health when working outdoors. She advised employers to review guidelines set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which suggest that training should be provided to workers about the hazards that lead to heat stress, and at least one pint of water be drank every hour. 

Safety products to help workers deal with the heat include cooling clothing and bandanas, and disposable respirators with exhalation valves.