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Preventing Heat-related Illness or Death of Outdoor Workers

May 2013
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2013-143
cover of 2013-143

Outdoor workers in agriculture, construction, and other industries are exposed to a great deal of exertional and environmental heat stress that may lead to severe illness or death. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that employers have a plan in place to prevent heat-related illness. The plan should include hydration (drinking plenty of water), acclimatization (getting used to weather conditions), and schedules that alternate work with rest. Employers should also train workers about the hazards of working in hot environments [NIOSH 1986, 2008, 2010; OSHA-NIOSH 2011].