Obama Administration Warns That Working Outdoors Can Kill You

May 8, 2012 - 7:57 AM
Heat Wave

A very hot and thirsty dog named Buck cools off drinking bottled water poured by his owner Sue Anderson of South Windsor Conn., during a legion baseball game at the peak of the heat Wednesday afternoon, July 20, 2011, in South Windsor. A lengthy, blistering heat wave is blanketing the eastern half of the United States. (AP Photo/Journal Inquirer, Jim Michaud) MANDATORY CREDIT

(CNSNews.com) – “Let’s Move,” says the Obama White House. But Obama’s Labor Department is telling some workers to slow down.

On Monday, the administration launched a national campaign warning people how dangerous it is to work outside in hot weather.

"Drinking plenty of water and taking frequent breaks in cool, shaded areas are incredibly important in the hot summer months," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a division of the Labor Department, says heat stroke has killed around 30 workers a year, on average, since 2003, and "thousands" of workers" are stricken annually with heat-related illnesses.

"For outdoor workers, 'water, rest and shade' are three words that can make the difference between life and death," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said Monday in a news release. "If employers take reasonable precautions, and look out for their workers, we can beat the heat."

For the second summer in a row, OSHA is distributing educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. A special Web page explains heat-related hazards.

OSHA also has released a free application for mobile devices that allows workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level.

"It is essential for workers and employers to take proactive steps to stay safe in extreme heat, and become aware of symptoms of heat exhaustion before they get worse," Michaels said.

The message is aimed at agriculture workers, construction and utility workers, baggage handlers, roofers, landscapers, and others who work outside.