How to Prevent Workplace Heatstroke

OSHA reminds employers to protect workers against heat illness as summer continues

July 13, 2022

With several record-breaking heat waves just last month alone, it’s no wonder why leaders in various industries are concerned about the health and safety of their workers both in the office and out in the field.  

According to a recent release from OSHA, “The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds employers and workers not to ignore the dangers of working in hot weather—indoors and out. Incorporating water, rest, and shade can be the difference between ending the workday safely or suffering serious injuries or worse.” 

While some employers believe that temperatures below 100°F are still within the safety standards for outside work, this simply isn’t the case. Northwestern Medicine confirmed this by stating that “temperatures that are unreasonably hot for your climate, and that your body is therefore unused to, can also impact your risk for heat illness.” With rising temperatures across the nation, this summer can quickly become dangerous for all states simply based on the difference between what these employees are used to versus the climate changes these heatwaves bring.  

To protect employees from heat-related illness and injuries, it is best that these standards are met daily on the worksite: 

  • Encourage workers to drink water every 15 minutes. 
  • Ensure workers take frequent rest breaks in the shade to cool down. 
  • Have an emergency plan ready to respond when a worker shows signs of heat-related illness. 
  • Train supervisors and workers on the hazards of heat exposure, how to recognize common signs and symptoms, and how to prevent illness. 
  • Allow workers to build a tolerance for working in heat. 

To learn more about heat-related safety protocol, take a look at OSHA’s new program to protect workers from heat injuries and illnesses. 

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