OSHA's Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness

OSHA's Campaign against the Elements -

sun water. rest. shade. The work can't get done without them.

Learn about OSHA's Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers

HEAT ILLNESS CAN BE DEADLY. Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. These illnesses and deaths are preventable.

This webpage is part of OSHA’s nationwide outreach campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather. The educational resources on this website give workers and employers information about heat illnesses and how to prevent them. There are also training tools for employers to use and posters to display at their worksites. Many of the new resources target vulnerable workers with limited English proficiency. OSHA will continue to add information and tools to this page throughout the summer.

OSHA is also partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on weather service alerts. NOAA’s Heat Watch page now includes worker safety precautions when extreme heat alerts are issued.

We invite you to join in this effort by helping to reach workers and employers in your community with the resources you will find on thhe OSHA site.

Heat Smartphone App

Heat Smartphone App
  • Video - Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health

Who is affected? Workers exposed to hot and humid conditions are at risk of heat illness, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky protective clothing and equipment. Some workers might be at greater risk than others if they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions.

What is heat illness? The body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating isn't enough. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels if precautions are not taken. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.

How can heat illness be prevented? Remember three simple words: water, rest, shade. Drinking water often, taking breaks, and limiting time in the heat can help prevent heat illness. Employers should include these prevention steps in worksite training and plans. Gradually build up to heavy work in hot conditions. This helps you build tolerance to the heat – or become acclimated. Employers should take steps that help workers become acclimated, especially workers who are new to working outdoors in the heat or have been away from work for a week or more. Gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks during the first week of work. Also, it’s important to know and look out for the symptoms of heat illness in yourself and others during hot weather. Plan for an emergency and know what to do — acting quickly can save lives!

External Links:

Heat Stress Aid Kits

Instant Cold Compresses


Educational Resources for Workers and Employers

Illustrated, low-literacy fact sheets for workers

Available in English [1 MB PDF*, 4 pages] and en Español [1 MB PDF*, 4 pages]**

Worksites poster for employers that illustrate heat illness

Available in English [2 MB PDF*, 2 pages] and en Español [2 MB PDF*, 2 pages]**

Community posters that list heat prevention tips and provide OSHA

contact information

Available in English [2 MB PDF*, 1 page] and en Español [293 KB PDF*, 1 page]**

OSHA Heat Prevention Lesson Plan

Available in English [7 MB PDF*, 43 pages] and en Español [9 MB PDF*, 43 pages]

Use OSHA's Heat Smartphone App

Check the heat index for your worksite and see reminders about the protective

measures for the specified risk level.

Additional Resources for Workers and Employers

OSHA Quick Card: Protecting Workers from Heat Stress [3 MB PDF*, 2 pages]

OSHA Fact Sheet: Protecting Workers from the Effects of Heat Fact Sheet [180 KB PDF*, 2 pages]

OSHA-NIOSH Heat Illness Info Sheet: Protecting Workers from Heat Illness [132 KB PDF*, 3 pages].

OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page: Occupational Heat Exposure

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fast Facts: Protecting Yourself from Heat Stress [375 KB PDF, 2 pages] (2010, April)

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Safety and Health Topic: Heat Stress

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Extreme Heat

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service Heat Index

Cal/OSHA Webpage: California Campaign to Protect Outdoor Workers From Heat Illness***

Cal/OSHA, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) Webpage: Heat Illness Prevention***

Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention eTool and Action Kit***

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Webpage: Outdoor Heat Exposure (Heat Stress)***

**These resources were adapted from California OSHA’s heat campaign materials.

***NOTE: California and Washington state have their own heat illness prevention standards; these materials reflect the requirements in those standards.

Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

*These files are provided for downloading.


How can OSHA help? Workers have a right to a safe workplace.  If you think your job is unsafe or you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). It's confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.

OSHA also provides help to employers. OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. For more information or for additional compliance assistance contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). It's confidential. We can help.


External Links:

Heat Stress Aid Kits

Instant Cold Compresses


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