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Aug. 3, 2005

L&I says take precautions if you work outdoors in the heat

TUMWATER — Department of Labor & Industries officials today said working outdoors in hot weather can put employees at risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and they listed some ways to avoid danger. The agency said heat exhaustion is a serious problem and heat stroke can kill.

To protect yourself and co-workers while working outside in hot weather:

  • Drink plenty of water or electrolyte drinks, even when not thirsty.
  • Try to do the heaviest work during the cooler parts of the day.
  • Adapt the pace of work to the heat – take more breaks, go slower when possible.
  • Build up a tolerance to the heat and your work slowly.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting, light-colored breathable clothing such as cotton, and a hat.
  • Take regular breaks in the shade.
  • Avoid alcohol or drinks with caffeine before or during work.
  • Keep an eye on co-workers for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • If you start feeling ill, stop what you are doing immediately and take steps to cool down. Tell your supervisor.

If you think someone is suffering heat stroke, you should get medical help immediately by calling 911. Some of the signs of heat stroke include no sweating; red or flushed, hot dry skin; rapid pulse; headache; blurred vision; dizziness or fainting; difficulty breathing; pinpoint pupils, unusual behavior; convulsions; and collapse.

To learn more, call your local Labor & Industries office or visit www.LNI.wa.gov/Safety and click on “Hazard Alerts.”

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For media information: Elaine Fischer, L&I, 360-902-5413 or nele235@LNI.wa.gov, or visit the L&I News and Media Center at www.LNI.wa.gov/News.

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