Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, hosted a press teleconference on May 7, 2012, where he announced the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) 2012 Heat Illness Prevention Campaign.
The prevention program is a nationwide initiative held to increase awareness and education among workers and their employers about the dangers of working outdoors in hot weather. The program also outlines the steps that must be taken to prevent heat-related illnesses, as every year, heat illness affects thousands of workers, and dozens die from heat stroke.
"Agriculture workers; building, road and other construction workers; utility workers; baggage handlers; roofers; landscapers; and others who work outside are all at risk. Drinking plenty of water and taking frequent breaks in cool, shaded areas are incredibly important in the hot summer months," said Dr. Michaels
"For outdoor workers, 'water, rest and shade' are three words that can make the difference between life and death," Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said. "If employers take reasonable precautions, and look out for their workers, we can beat the heat."
To prepare workers and employers for the summer season, OSHA has prepared educational materials in both English and Spanish on heat illness safety and prevention, and what to do in the event of an emergency. Additionally, OSHA created and released a free mobile device app for Android-based platforms and the iPhone that allows workers and employers to calculate the heat index at worksites, displays a risk level, and gives reminders about safety measures that should be taken at that risk level.
According to OSHA, thousands of workers across the country suffer from serious heat-related illnesses, with labor-intensive activities in hot weather raising body temperatures above the level that can be cooled by sweating. Provide workers with heat stress relief products and lightweight safety products to keep workers safe from the risk of heat-related illness and occupational hazards.