Topic of the Week Heat Safety for Workers
Every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in extreme heat or humid conditions. There are a range of heat illnesses and they can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical condition. Under OSHA law, employers are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety hazards. This includes protecting workers from extreme heat.
1. Who should be worried about hot conditions at work?
There are a range of heat illnesses and they can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical condition, whether an individual is working indoors or outdoors. Workers who are exposed to hot and humid conditions are at risk of heat-related illness. The risk of heat-related illness becomes greater as the weather gets hotter and more humid. This situation is particularly serious when hot weather arrives suddenly early in the season, before workers have had a chance to adapt to warm weather.
2. Can I ask my employer to adjust my work schedule because of extreme heat?
Sunlight exposure is highest during the summer and between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Working outdoors during these times increases the chances of getting sunburned and other heat related illnesses. Requesting your employer or supervisor create work schedules that minimize sun exposure can be helpful.
Thought of the Week
"Whether you’re working indoors or outdoors, hot and humid conditions can pose serious risks to workers’ health, but heat-related illnesses are preventable. That’s why we're reminding employers of their responsibility to provide workplaces free of known heat-related safety and health hazards and equipping them with a plan to establish their own heat illness prevention procedures."
–Bart Pickelman, MIOSHA
Weekly Comic by Jerry King
Blog of the Week
Starbucks Workers Are in the Fight of Their Lives for a Contract
"We have to bring a lot of economic pressure to bear on Starbucks. I think strikes are an important piece of that. But we need a lot of solidarity from allies in order to amplify the voices of workers at the stores that have organized."
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from Facts About Heat Safety at
Workplace Heat Safety Facts:
- Heat exposure kills an average of 40 workers annually (56 fatalities in 2020)
- Heat-related injures average 3,000 cases
- The goverment believes that cases of heat-related workplace issues are vastly underreported