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Tired stress worker sweat from hot weather in summer working in port goods cargo shipping logistic ground.

Tired worker suffering from extreme heat while working in port goods cargo shipping logistic ground.

Surviving the Summer: Heat Stroke Prevention Strategies

According to the Florida Department of Health, there were 188 deaths due to exposure to excessive natural heat in Florida from 2010-2019, with heat-related deaths peaking in 2010 with 27 deaths. In addition, there were 2,447 hospitalizations due to heat-related illnesses during that same period. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that Florida had the second-highest number of heat-related worker deaths in the nation between 2008 and 2017, with 65 fatalities. These statistics show that heat stroke is a serious issue in Florida, particularly for outdoor workers like those in the construction industry. It underscores the importance of taking steps to prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries and ensure the safety of workers exposed to excessive heat on the job. 

Heat stroke symptoms.

Heat stroke is a serious risk for workers in Florida, particularly during the summer months when temperatures can reach dangerous levels. OSHA recommends several steps to prevent heat illness among workers. These include:

  • Providing plenty of water (or sports drinks)
  • Ensuring workers take regular breaks in cool, shaded areas.
  • Training workers on the signs of heat stroke so they know when to seek medical attention.
  • Acclimatizing new workers to the heat slowly over several days.
  • Encouraging workers to wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Monitoring workers for signs of heat illness and taking action to prevent heat stroke, including calling for emergency medical services if necessary.

In addition to these measures, employers can take other steps to raise awareness about heat stroke prevention. They can hold regular safety meetings to discuss the risks of heat illness and provide information on the symptoms of heat stroke. They can also distribute informative materials, such as brochures or posters, detailing the signs of heat stroke and offering tips on how to prevent it.

Finally, it's important to emphasize that heat stroke is preventable. By educating workers and implementing safety protocols, employers can ensure that their employees stay safe and healthy, even in hot conditions.

USF SafetyFlorida can assist you in identifying potential hazards on your worksite(s), improve your safety and health programs, and even qualify your company for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections. Our services are free and confidential. For more information about protecting your workforce or to request a no-cost, confidential consultation, please visit our website at www.usfsafetyflorida.com or call us toll-free at (866) 273-1105.

For more resources about heat illness, please visit www.osha.gov/heat.

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