Important Reminder on Heat Illness Prevention Issued by the OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District

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OSHA Standards Require Workers to be Protected from Extreme Heat at Worksites

Cari Elofson, Assistant Director

Cari Elofson, Assistant Director

Most heat-related illnesses and deaths are totally preventable when employers follow OSHA requirements to protect employees working in extreme heat.

The OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, the only authorized OSHA Training Institute Education Center headquartered in Northern California, has issued an important reminder to employers to prevent heat illness by protecting their workers from extreme heat at their worksites. Employers with workers exposed to high temperatures should establish a complete heat illness prevention program that incorporates water, rest and shade as key elements of worker protection.

“2,630 workers suffered from heat illness and 18 died from heat stroke and related causes on the job in 2014,” said Cari Elofson, Assistant Director of the OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District. “Most heat-related illnesses and deaths are totally preventable when employers follow OSHA requirements to protect employees working in extreme heat."

During hot weather, especially with high humidity, body temperature can rise to dangerous levels and lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke if workers don't drink enough water and rest in the shade. Any worker exposed to hot and humid conditions is at risk of heat illness, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky protective clothing and equipment. Some workers might be at greater risk than others if they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions, including new workers, temporary workers, or those returning to work after a week or more off.

Essential elements of an effective heat illness prevention program include:

  • Provide workers with water, rest and shade.
  • Allow new or returning workers to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they acclimatize, or build a tolerance for working in the heat.
  • Plan for emergencies and train workers on prevention.
  • Monitor workers for signs of illness.

To prevent heat related illness and fatalities workers should:

  • Drink water every 15 minutes
  • Rest in the shade to cool down
  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing
  • Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
  • Keep an eye on fellow workers

OSHA has made a variety of free heat illness prevention resources available online, including a Heat Safety App.

About the OSHA Training Center

The OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District offers high quality Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards-based training for construction, maritime and general industry in Dublin, California, conveniently located in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as locations throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam. Programs offered include OSHA safety standards, Outreach Trainer courses, Cal/OSHA standards and customized on-site safety training. For more information, including a complete course schedule, visit the OSHA Training Center website or call (866) 936-OSHA (6742).

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Cari Elofson
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