TUMWATER - With temperatures warmer than normal in many parts of the state this week, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is reminding everyone that working outdoors in hot weather can put you at risk of heat-related illness.
If you work outdoors in hot weather:
- Drink as much as one cup of water every 15 minutes.
- Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.
- Pace your work and take breaks.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals.
Heat-related illness can cause serious medical conditions, including disability and death.
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A Washington state safety rule requires employers to protect outdoor workers from heat-related illness. Employers must train workers and supervisors to recognize the symptoms of heat stress and how to respond, increase the amount of water available to workers when it's hot, have the ability to appropriately respond to any worker with symptoms, and include heat-related-illness hazards in the employer's safety program.
L&I offers many online resources, such as a sample accident prevention plan, training materials for supervisors and workers, and wallet cards with safety tips. In addition, employers may request a free workplace consultation or attend a workshop.
More information and resources about outdoor heat exposure are available at http://www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Topics/AtoZ/heatstress/default.asp.