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July 7, 2010

Beat the heat: Five tips for working outdoors in hot weather

TUMWATER – With temperatures across the state soaring this week, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) urges people working outdoors to take precautions against heat-related illness, a condition that can result in serious medical conditions, including disability or death.

Roofing, highway construction and agricultural work are just a few of the workplaces across Washington in which workers are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses in warm weather.

For those working outdoors in hot weather, try to follow these five tips:

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

Since 2008, Washington state 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 them, 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.

For more information, including tips to assist both workers and employers, visit www.Lni.wa.gov/Safety/Topics/AtoZ/heatstress.

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For media information: Hector Castro, L&I, 360-902-6043.

Broadcast version: If you work outdoors in hot weather, the Department of Labor and Industries is urging you to follow these five tips to protect yourself from heat-related illness: drink plenty of water, pace your work and take scheduled breaks, wear lightweight clothing, avoid caffeine and heavy meals, and watch your co-workers for symptoms of heat-related illness, such as headaches, dizziness or nausea. A state rule requires employers to make sure workers have plenty of water and train workers and supervisors on the signs of heat-related illness and what to do. For more information, visit www dot Lni dot wa dot gov.

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