On Tuesday June 4, 2013, construction sites across the Southeast United States will voluntarily stop work from 7 to 8 a.m. EDT to conduct safety training focused on the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and preventive steps to take while working in the hot weather.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and trade associations and employers in Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee will educate workers on how to identify symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Every year, thousands of workers nationwide suffer from serious heat-related illnesses. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which has killed—on average—more than 30 workers annually since 2003. Labor-intensive activities in hot weather can raise body temperatures beyond the level that normally can be cooled by sweating. Heat illness initially may manifest as heat rash or heat cramps. It can quickly become heat exhaustion and then heat stroke if simple prevention steps are not followed.
"This stand-down is intended for all those working in hot weather, such as workers in agriculture, construction, baggage handling, roofing and landscaping, and others who work outdoors," said Teresa Harrison, OSHA's acting regional administrator for the Southeast. "It is the employer's responsibility to protect workers from injury and illness."
OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. Additionally, a Web page provides information and resources on heat illness, including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency, for workers and employers. The page is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html.