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OSHA launches campaign to keep workers safe during heat wave

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 14 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 16 2013 04:36:06 AM CDT

Monday was the first day of what's shaping up to be a very hot work week.

Monday was the first day of what's shaping up to be a very hot work week, and the heat has government officials on high alert.

They're reaching out to employers across Pennsylvania to help keep workers out of the hospital and on the job.

OSHA is hoping employers place placards in an area where their workers will see it with the goal of educating people working in the sun. The message is three easy steps: water, rest and shade.

The summer months can be tough on construction crews working at the hockey arena in Allentown and the 15th Street bridge.     

Each person needs to pay attention to detail and watch out for signs of heat illness.

"Every year, workers suffer from heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and they need to be educated," said Jean Kulp, Allentown area director for OSHA.

In 2011, 4,000 people died nationwide from some type of heat-related illness, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

That's why OSHA is kicking off a campaign to educate workers and employers about working in the heat.

"Drink water, plenty of fluids, take breaks periodically during the day," added Kulp, "especially when the temperatures rise to the point of where they are today."

Not only are the workers handing out placards to hang at each work site, this year there is an app to help employees and employers beat the heat.

The OSHA Heat Safety Tool calculates the heat index at your current location.

"Employers and employees can judge the risk and it will also guide them as far as the prevention," said Kulp.

The heat safety tool is available for anyone to download free of charge.