Here Comes the Sun: Implement Heat Stress Programs by May 1

Outdoor Heat ExposureSummer is coming, and according to meteorologists, the current outlook is for well-above average temperatures for northern states stretching from the Pacific Northwest into the East Coast.

While sunshine and warm temperatures are a welcome sight, it is important to remember that working outdoors in hot weather is a health hazard.

Beginning May 1 and continuing through September 30, Washington State requires that all employers with employees exposed to outdoor temperatures above applicable levels implement a heat stress program.

An Outdoor Heat Exposure Prevention Plan should be part of your district’s Accident Prevention Plan.

The general requirements for employers are to:

  • Provide annual training to employees and supervisors on symptoms of outdoor heat exposure and policies in place to prevent heat-related illness;
  • Increase the volume of water available to employees on days when temperatures require preventive measures; and
  • Have the ability to appropriately respond to any employee with symptoms of heat-related illness.

How to Respond
Workers experiencing heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke can exhibit a wide variety of symptoms including: dizziness, headaches, vomiting, or fainting.

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has an educational card available that fully describes the specific symptoms of heat-related illness, and steps employees can take to prevent it.

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