Use caution if working outdoors in hot conditions

August 18, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 18, 2012

The state Department of Labor & Industries reminded people working outdoors to take steps to prevent heat-related illness amid near-record temperatures.

In Washington, workers in the roofing, highway construction and agricultural fields can be particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses in warm weather.

Since 2008, Washington has had a workplace-safety rule on outdoor heat exposure to protect workers from heat-related illness.

The rule requires employers with employees working outdoors to train workers and supervisors on the symptoms of heat-related illness and what to do if someone develops a heat-related illness.

Employers also must provide plenty of water for workers, be able to respond appropriately to any employee with symptoms of illness and include heat-related-illness hazards in the company’s accident prevention program.

The agency offers tips for workers in the high temperatures:

  • Start work well-hydrated and drink as much as a cup of water every 15 minutes.
  • Watch coworkers for signs of heat-related illness, such as headaches, dizziness or nausea.
  • Pace your work and take scheduled breaks.
  • Wear lightweight clothing, and remove protective gear when it’s safe to do so.
  • Avoid drinking caffeine or eating a heavy meal.
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