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(LISTEN): OSHA emphasizes safety, with heat advisory in effect in mid-Missouri

(LISTEN): OSHA emphasizes safety, with heat advisory in effect in mid-Missouri

Mid-Missouri’s heat index values could reach 110 over the next several days (July 26, 2023 graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service St. Louis Twitter page)

The National Weather Service (NWS) in St. Louis is warning mid-Missourians about dangerously-high temperatures today and for the next week or so. Temperatures are expected to reach 101 today (Wednesday) in Columbia and Ashland, with highs tomorrow and Friday approaching 104.

U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) reminds employers that federal law requires employers to protect workers from heat-related hazards. OSHA Kansas City office director Karena Lorek says OSHA’s safety campaign focuses on water, rest and shade.

“Ensuring workers are drinking water. Making sure they drink a cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes, whether you’re thirsty or not,” Lorek says.

Ms. Lorek says employers should have a heat illness prevention program. She also encourages you to monitor yourself and others for heat illness, as a heat dome continues to build in central Missouri.

OSHA’s Kansas City office has jurisdiction over Columbia. She tells 939 the Eagle that shade is critical.

“Anything where you’re not having that direct sunlight, because in the direct sunlight it obviously intensifies the heat. So in the shade, it’s a little bit cooler,” says Lorek.

She says that every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in hot or humid conditions.

Lorek also emphasizes that heat illnesses are preventable.

“If we all look out for each other, making sure and checking on your co-workers and looking out for signs of excessive sweating. If someone is dizzy, any nausea,” she says.

OSHA says companies should present their heat illness prevention plan to workers. Anyone who wants to file a heat complaint can contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA.