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OSHA calls for protection of Idaho workers from the heat

Two women, wearing protective gear against the heat and sun pick through the green growth looking for chiles.
Gustavo Sagrero
Boise State Public Radio
OSHA proposed a federal rule that could protect people who are exposed to extreme heat, from heat-related illnesses or death.

OSHA has called for Idaho employers to protect their workers from extreme heat, as temperatures continue to climb this summer.

Parts of Idaho are expected to reach triple digits soon, but there are currently no state heat regulations to protect employees from heat-related illnesses.

Only five states in the U.S. have plans to keep workers safe, but the White House has proposed a new federal rule to protect about 36 million workers from heat-related injuries or death.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule, if approved, would make every state establish plans to mitigate severe heat exposure.

Most heat fatalities happen during the first week of work because employees don’t have enough time to build up heat tolerance.

There is a free app called the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool, to help calculate how hot a worksite is and what the associated risks are. It also provides recommendations to prevent heat-related illnesses and is available in English and Spanish.

OSHA encourages people to drink plenty of water, take breaks in the shade and to be aware of heat illness symptoms, which include an increased heart rate, nausea, headaches and dizziness.

I am currently a junior at Boise State University majoring in Communication with Minors in Spanish and Mexican American Studies. I have also earned my certificate in American Sign Language (ASL). I am fortunate to have taken several educational and inspirational communication and media writing courses while at Boise State. I have been able to witness the power of communication at its best, and the dire consequences of a lack thereof. I seek to exist in a space where I am part of the flow of information, catalyst for positive change and a facilitator for inclusivity and respectful discourse.

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