It’s the middle of summer, and tree workers are at high risk for heat-related illnesses, some of which can result in death.
Fortunately, with awareness and the right amount of precaution, tree workers can find ways to work through the hot and humid weather safely.
In an effort to raise awareness about this issue, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is launching its 2013 Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness. This campaign informs workers about the risks associated with hot weather and provides them with the tools necessary to stay safe and cool during the summer.
OSHA’s web resources include:
- Educational resources that target vulnerable workers with limited English proficiency and/or low literacy and include Spanish language materials .
- “Using the Heat Index,” a guide for employers who want to develop a heat illness prevention plan.
- Training resources including a guide/lesson plan for employers and others to use in instructing workers on heat illness. There are links to additional resources in other languages.
- Media resources that include new releases, public service announcements (PSAs), customizable articles and graphics about heat illness prevention, and….
- Spanish language resources and webpage.
OSHA has also developed a mobile app (for Android, iPhone and Blackberry) which can be used to calculate the heat index for your worksite and use that to inform you of your “risk level.” The app sends out reminders about protective measures you can take to prevent heat-related illnesses, which include:
- Drinking enough fluids
- Scheduling rest breaks
- Planning for emergencies
- Adjusting work operations
- Training on heat illness signs and symptoms
- Monitoring coworkers for heat-related illnesses
You can help OSHA raise awareness through your social media outlets by using the #WaterRestShade hashtag, and by sharing these resources with workers, employers and your downstream customers. To learn more about the campaign or to request educational publications, contact Frank Meilinger at Meilinger.Francis2@dol.gov or 202-693-1999.