As they begin their day, outdoor workers in Kentucky and six others southeast states will stand down at construction and other work sites. The time will be spent stressing the dangers posed by summer heat. Bill Cochran with the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the voluntary break is not restricted to construction workers.
“Any employers that have employees working outside in the summer heat, not just construction but landscaping, agriculture, employees working on airports on runways is another example,” said Cochran.
While this event focuses on the health and safety risks posed by high heat, Cochran says workers should also prepare for stormy weather.
“There is a lot of potential for injury and illness related to other types of weather conditions, tornadoes, high winds, lightning, especially lightning with thunderstorms,” added Cochran.
The federal agency has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum that can be used for workplace training. Cochran says his agency also offers Kentucky employers some day to day assistance.
“We’ve also released a free application for a mobile device that enables workers and supervisors to monitor heat index during their work activities. The application actually displays the risk levels for workers, based upon the heat index and provides reminders about protective measures that they should take at each risk level,” explained Cochran.
Cochran adds every year thousands of workers nationwide suffer from serious heat related illnesses.