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Recent record-breaking temperatures in parts of the country are a reminder of the importance of heat safety for outdoor as well as indoor workers, particularly those who perform strenuous job tasks or who are required to wear heavy protective gear. Employees who are new to the job site or are returning from vacation are often more prone to heat-related illnesses since they are not acclimated to the higher temperatures. Effective heat safety programs should include an acclimation period for new or returning workers, frequent water and rest breaks for all workers, and training on the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. It is essential that employees also understand who they should contact within the Company in the event that they are experiencing the signs and symptoms of heat-related stress.
In addition to the resources and training materials on OSHA's heat safety page, the Agency has also released a smartphone app that calculates the current heat index (a value combining the current temperature and humidity) and provides corresponding precautions. The app also provides information on the signs and symptoms of heat stress and appropriate first aid, as well links back to the OSHA website. This free app is currently available to iPhone and Android users; an update for Blackberry users is coming soon.
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