OSHA Tips for Staying Safe This Summer

OSHA and the US Department of Labor recently published a press release reminding both employers and employees to remember necessary precautions for working safely during summer months. Florida's contractors are no strangers to sweltering summer temperatures, but dangerous heat exposure can occur anywhere if the conditions are right.

When working in a warm environment, the human body relies on its ability to get rid of excess heat to maintain a healthy internal body temperature. Heat dissipation happens naturally through sweating and increased blood flow to the skin. Workers cool down more rapidly if the external (environmental) heat and physical activity (metabolic heat) are reduced. If heat dissipation does not happen quickly enough, the internal body temperature keeps rising and the worker may experience symptoms including:

  • Thirst
  • Irritability
  • A rash
  • Cramping
  • Heat exhaustion or heat stroke

Heatstroke is the most severe heat-related illness. Workers suffering from heatstroke experience mental dysfunction such as unconsciousness, confusion, disorientation, or slurred speech. If you or any of your employees experience these symptoms on a job site, call 911 immediately!

Here are three important tips to remember from OSHA’s Occupational Heat Exposure page to ensure everyone stays safe this summer:

  • Water. Rest. Shade. Workers should drink water every 15 minutes, and take frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas
  • Ensure adequate planning and supervision is in place to keep workers safe in the heat
  • Train workers on the hazards of heat exposure and how to prevent illness

We are happy to help ensure the safety of America’s working men and women by providing workplace safety training in all of our state-approved continuing education packages. Remember, Certified Florida Contractors contractors must renew their licenses by August 31st, 2020!


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Proposed Florida Bill Would Require Heat-Illness Training

Under a new proposed bill, Florida’s construction and agriculture employers could be required to train outdoor employees on how to avoid heat-related illnesses. This heat-illness prevention bill would set a standard for outdoor workers to be given plenty of drinking water and access to shade with 10-minute rest breaks after 2 hours of outside work.

It accompanies another bill in the Florida Senate that would also require annual training to identify signs of heat exhaustion and a period to allow workers to gradually adopt to a hot environment.

OSHA does not currently have a standard for indoor or outdoor heat exposure safety practices, except within the scopes of their general hazards section. They do recommend employers provide water, rest, and shade for workers in hot environments.

Proponents have been pushing for tougher standards, arguing Florida is one of the hottest states in the country, and when paired with the humidity it makes work unsustainable.

According to Business Insurance, “The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission sent clear signals that OSHA should adopt a standard to address heat stress risks rather than relying on the general duty clause after vacating a citation issued after the death of a 61-year-old temporary employee from complications of heat stroke.”


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