Using the Heat Index to Protect Workers: Training Workers

The following is an excerpt taken from the article, “Training Workers.” For more information please visit www.osha.gov.

Training Workers

trainer talking with construction workersTrain workers before hot outdoor work begins. Tailor the training topic outline to cover employer-specific policies and worksite-specific conditions.  A single worksite may have some job tasks that are low risk for heat-related illness and others that are high risk.  Training will be more effective if it is matched to job tasks and conditions, and is reviewed and reinforced throughout hot weather conditions. The following training topics may be addressed in one session or in a series of shorter sessions.

Training Topics:

  • Risk factors for heat-related illness.
  • Different types of heat-related illness, including how to recognize common signs and symptoms.
  • Heat-related illness prevention procedures.
  • Importance of drinking small quantities of water often.
  • Importance of acclimatization, how it is developed, and how your worksite procedures address it.
  • Importance of immediately reporting signs or symptoms of heat-related illness to the supervisor.
  • Procedures for responding to possible heat-related illness.
  • Procedures to follow when contacting emergency medical services.
  • Procedures to ensure that clear and precise directions to the work site will be provided to emergency medical services.
Factors that May Cause Heat-related Illness
Environmental High temperature and humidity
Direct sun exposure (with no shade) or extreme heat
Limited air movement (no breeze or wind)
Job-Specific Physical exertion
Use of bulky protective clothing and equipment

See Training Resources for heat-related illness prevention training tools and resources. Also see OSHA’s Heat-Related Illness Prevention Training Guide [7 MB PDF*, 43 pages] for one tool to help you train your workers. The training guide includes instructions for teaching workers about heat hazards and a daily checklist to make sure all appropriate precautions are in place each workday.  OSHA’s factsheets and worksite posters (in English and Spanish) can help in communicating key messages about heat safety and health. Some labor and industry organizations offer industry-specific guidance for protecting workers, such as wildland firefighters [823 KB PDF, 2 pages], that face heat exposure under special circumstances. Inquire whether your industry offers any special guidance, or adapt information from industries with similar situations.

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