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National Heat Awareness Day

National Heat Awareness Day was created "to encourage employers and workers to recognize the warning signs for heat illness and keep workers safe." Although it is centered on the workplace, it raises awareness about the dangers of heat for everyone. Extreme heat and humidity can lead to illness and death when the body is unable to maintain its usual temperature. It is the number one cause of death related to weather in the United States and in many other countries.

There are a range of heat-related illnesses that can affect anyone, regardless of physical condition and age. But, those who are over 65, who have heart disease or high blood pressure, who are overweight, or who take medications may be more prone to heat illnesses. Workers who labor in hot environments, both indoor and outdoor, are also more prone to heat-related illnesses. Employers are responsible to protect workers from extreme heat and should have a heat illness prevention plan in place. The safety of small children in hot vehicles is also a great concern. National Heat Awareness Day, which dates back to at least 2013, was declared by and has been supported by The National Weather Service, and has also been supported by OSHA.

How to Observe National Heat Awareness Day

Some ways you could observe the day include:

  • Read and put into practice heat safety information from the National Weather Service and OSHA.
  • Learn more about heat-related illnesses from the CDC.
  • If you are an employer, establish a heat illness prevention program to protect your workers from extreme heat. Some things to include:
    • Provide workers with time for water, rest, and shade.
    • Provide workers who are returning from time away the opportunity to be reacclimated to the heat by letting them slowly increase their workload and have plenty of opportunities to rest.
    • Train workers on heat illness prevention.
    • Monitor workers for signs of illness.
    • Plan for the possibility of emergencies.

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