As temperatures begin to rise in Louisiana, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds all employers and workers to not ignore the dangers of working in the hot weather.

From 2011-2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 344 worker-related deaths in U.S. were due to environmental heat exposure. Workplace safety experts believe the actual number of heat-related fatalities may be underreported or misreported as another cause, such as heart attacks.

To combat the dangers of heat exposure, OSHA launched a national emphasis program in April 2022 to protect workers from heat illness and injuries.

“Our goal is to ensure workers are safe in hot indoor and outdoor environments,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Eric Harbin in Dallas. “In the past several years, OSHA’s heat safety campaign has been intently focused on raising awareness of the related dangers. Our recent national emphasis program is reaching out to unions, employers in target industries and other organizations to protect workers most often exposed to heat illness and injuries.”

OSHA’s message is simple: Water. Rest. Shade.

  • Encourage workers to drink water every 15 minutes.
  • Take frequent rest breaks in the shade to cool down.
  • Have an emergency plan ready to respond when a worker shows signs of heat-related illness.
  • Train workers on the hazards of heat exposure, and how to prevent illness.
  • Allow workers to build a tolerance for working in heat.