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OSHA and MSHA partner on poster and infographic on preventing heat illness

Photo: OSHA

Washington — A new poster and infographic from OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration offer best practices to help mine operators and workers mitigate heat-related hazards and prevent heat illness.

To start, the agencies recommend easing into work to build tolerance to heat. Almost 3 out of 4 fatalities related to heat illness occur during the first week of work, the poster states.

Other guidance:

  • Provide workers with heat stress training.
  • Implement mine planning, ventilation and air conditioning to reduce heat, when possible.
  • Promote reasonably short work periods and provide frequent rest breaks in cool areas.
  • Wear a hat and light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing, when possible.
  • Drink at least 1 cup of cool water every 20 minutes, even if you aren’t thirsty.

Signs of heat illness include headache, nausea, dizziness, heavy sweating and elevated body temperature. Workers experiencing these symptoms shouldn’t be left alone and should be provided with water in a cool rest area.

If a worker exhibits abnormal thinking or behavior, slurred speech, seizures, or loss of consciousness, call 911 right away and use water or ice to cool the worker immediately. Remain with the worker until help arrives.

The agencies encourage mine operators and workers to use and distribute the poster and infographic.

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