Heat stress Injury prevention

CDC: Employers not following OSHA recommendations on heat illness prevention

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Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock

Atlanta – A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that some employers have not developed complete heat illness prevention programs despite OSHA’s widely publicized campaign on the topic.

Released Aug. 8, the CDC report indicates that employer failure to support acclimatization – adapting to a hot environment through repeated exposure – is the most common factor associated with death in OSHA’s review of 20 heat-related inspections from 2012 to 2013.

In all of the inspections, OSHA found incomplete or non-existent heat illness prevention programs, and no arrangement was made to acclimatize new workers. Missing components included shaded rest areas, work-rest cycles and water management. In 13 cases, a worker died. Nine of these deaths occurred during the worker’s first three days of employment, and four happened on the worker’s first day.

In a press release, OSHA stated that CDC’s report shows the importance of acclimatization to prevent worker deaths and illnesses.