Keeping workers safe during hot days

By:  Rachael Witter

Thousands of people who work outdoors get some form of heat-related illness every year.. and it's preventable.

We've already seen oppressive heat this year.  The Department of Labor wants employers to take some precautionary measures to keep their workers safe.

Ray's Lawn Care is one business where workers do their job in extreme heat and humidity.  They take precautions and even send employees out early so they don't end up working in the brutal afternoon heat.

“We make sure they have plenty of water. We have a commercial ice machine at the office, so they load up in the early mornings, most of them bring some fairly large water jugs with them. Other than that, we make sure they have plenty of break time if they need it because of the heat,” says Co-owner Ken Svoboda.

The Department of Labor says employers can use simple measures to keep their workers safe.

1)Those who work outdoors should drink water every 15 minutes even if they're not thirsty.
2) They should rest in the shade to cool down.
3) They should wear a hat or light colored clothing.
4) They should know the signs and symptoms of heat illness and know what to do in case of an emergency.
5) They should keep an eye on fellow coworkers.

A new smartphone app from the Department of Labor lets you calculate the heat index and take necessary precautions.  It's called the OSHA Heat Safety Tool and it's free on Android and iPhone.

Svoboda says with the heat, his workers may have to take things slow, but luckily, his customers don't mind.

“Most of them are even surprised that we're out in the heat, then again we're out in the extreme cold as well. So it doesn't really matter…we're just working from the extremes, one side or the other.”

Today is the first official day of summer, and by taking these easy steps you can prevent heat illness and even heat related death this season.