OSHA Warns Outdoor Workers of Heat-related Illness - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

OSHA Warns Outdoor Workers of Heat-related Illness

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MISSOULA - We may not have hit the first day of summer just yet, but OSHA officials are reminding outdoor workers to prepare for the heat.

OSHA and the National Weather Service have launched a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of working outdoors in hot weather.

President of Hoyt Homes, Wade Hoyt, said the biggest concern for his 40 subcontractors is working in confined spaces in the heat.

"At that point, if it gets way too warm for the guys, and they're dressed for lead remediation, we bring in either a fan or we ask them to just knock it off for the day," Hoyt said.

OSHA officials said thousands of workers get sick and dozens die every year from heat-related illnesses. The most common are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

"Heat exhaustion has symptoms of headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, thirst or heavy sweating," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels.

Heat stroke symptoms include fainting, seizures, confusion and can lead to death.

"And heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness and it requires immediate medical attention," Michaels said.

OSHA officials said it's also sometimes difficult for workers to recognize that they're experiencing these symptoms, so it's important for coworkers to keep an eye on each other."

OSHA's campaign includes a simple message for outdoor workers-- water, rest, shade.

"If outdoor workers are provided these precautions, it can mean the difference between life and death," Michaels said.

Outdoor workers are advised to drink water every 15 minutes, rest in the shade and wear light clothing.

Michaels added, "Gradually increasing the work load and giving workers time to acclimate allows them to build tolerance to the heat."

Hoyt says luckily, in Montana, his crews don't have to bear extreme heat very often, but when they do, they're prepared.

"We provide water on the larger jobs and we encourage everybody to stay hydrated," Hoyt said.

In 2012 alone, 31 workers died of heat-related illnesses across the country.


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