OSHA kicks off Heat Awareness Campaign - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

OSHA kicks off Heat Awareness Campaign

Some business like C and K Roofing spend lengthy time in the hot sun. Some business like C and K Roofing spend lengthy time in the hot sun.

It's hot and summer temperatures have kicked in. Many people returning to work after the Memorial holiday will enjoy the comfort of working indoors, in an air conditioned office, but some won't, like the roofers at C and K Roofing and Construction.

Their job requires them to be outside, in the blazing sun for at least ten hours a day.

Project manager, Chris Brown said the construction business is a million dollar industry and the summertime is when they get most of their work. Brown said staying aware about heat related illnesses is a safety priority the company takes seriously.

"Between one and two o'clock, I have the guys come off the roofs and I have them take a break under neath the shade, trying to cool down," said Brown. "If we continue pushing and pushing, someone's going to end up falling out."

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration kicked off their Heat awareness campaign earlier this month. OSHA officials wanted to send a message to employers whose businesses are mainly outdoors. Agents distributed bi-lingual pamphlets and hand out posters to warn employers about the dangers. They're hoping to prevent any heat related illnesses and fatalities. Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's Birmingham Director said an average of 4100 workers suffered from heat related illnesses in 2010 and 40 of those people died.

"So we're trying to educate the employer so they can take steps either training the employee or providing the means for the employee to protect themselves," said Sanchez. "Heat is a recognized hazard so to the extent that we can show that the employer knew that his employees were exposed to heat related illnesses and didn't do anything to prevent that from happening, we can issue a citation."

Information about heat related illnesses can be found on OSHA web site.

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