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OSHA's Heat Illness Campaign in Full Swing; "Heat App" Available

 For the second summer in a row, OSHA has kicked off a national outreach initiative to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather.

"For outdoor workers, 'water, rest and shade' are three words that can make the difference between life and death," Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said. "If employers take reasonable precautions, and look out for their workers, we can beat the heat."

"Every year, thousands of workers across the country suffer from serious heat-related illnesses," OSHA said. "If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which has killed - on average - more than 30 workers annually since 2003. Labor-intensive activities in hot weather can raise body temperatures beyond the level that normally can be cooled by sweating. Heat illness initially may manifest as heat rash or heat cramps, but quickly can become heat exhaustion and then heat stroke if simple prevention steps are not followed."

"It is essential for workers and employers to take proactive steps to stay safe in extreme heat, and become aware of symptoms of heat exhaustion before they get worse," added Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

To help spread the word, OSHA has created a free smart phone app that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app, which has been downloaded more than 25,000 times, displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. Available for Android-based platforms and the iPhone, the app can be downloaded in both English and Spanish by visiting http://s.dol.gov/RI.

More information on the heat illness prevention campaign is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html.