Using the Heat Index to Protect Workers: Planning Checklists

Use the following checklists to prepare for hot weather and to make sure that all appropriate precautions are in place.

Planning Ahead for Hot Weather: Employer Checklist1

Develop a list of hot weather supplies (e.g., water, shade devices, etc.). Estimate quantities that will be needed, and decide who will be responsible for obtaining and transporting  supplies and checking that supplies are not running low.
Create emergency action plan for heat-related illnesses (who will provide first aid and emergency services, if necessary).
Develop acclimatization schedule for new workers or workers returning from absences longer than one week.
Identify methods to gain real-time access to important weather forecast and advisory information from the National Weather Service and ensure the information is available at outdoor work sites (e.g., laptop computer, cell phone, other internet-ready device, weather radio).
Determine how weather information will be used to modify work schedules, increase the number of water and rest breaks, or cease work early if necessary.
Train workers on the risks presented by hot weather, how to identify heat-related illnesses, and the steps that will be taken to reduce the risk.
Plan to have a knowledgeable person on the worksite who can develop and enforce work/rest schedules and conduct physiological monitoring, when necessary, at high and very high/extreme risk levels for heat-related illness.

Daily Planning for Hot Weather: Employer Daily Checklist2

Water Is there plenty of fresh, cool drinking water located as close as possible to the workers?
Are water coolers refilled throughout the day? (Has someone been designated to check and make sure water is not running low?)
Shade Is shade or air conditioning available for breaks and if workers need to recover?
Training Do workers know the:
Common signs and symptoms of heat-related illness?
Proper precautions to prevent heat-related illness?
Importance of acclimatization?
Importance of drinking water frequently (even when they are not thirsty)?
Steps to take if someone is having symptoms?
Emergencies Does everyone know who to notify if there is an emergency?
Can workers explain their location if they need to call an ambulance?
Does everyone know who will provide first aid?
Knowledgeable Person For high and very high/extreme heat index risk levels, is there a knowledgeable person at the worksite who is well-informed about heat-related illness and able to determine appropriate work/rest schedules and can conduct physiological monitoring as necessary?
Physiological Monitoring Are workers in the high or very high/extreme heat index risk levels being physiologically monitored as necessary?
Worker Reminders Drink water often
Rest in shade
Report heat-related symptoms early

blank_checklist1This table is adapted from concepts appearing in OSHA’s Heat-related Illness Prevention Training Guide [7 MB PDF*, 43 pages].
This table is adapted from checklist (page 18) in OSHA’s Heat-related illness Prevention Training Guide [7 MB PDF*, 43 pages].

The above is an excerpt taken from the article, “Planning Checklists.” For more information please visit

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