Water. Rest. Shade: 3 Words to Live by This Summer 

In Texas, summer is like a bad party guest. It arrives early and stays too long. If your employees work outdoors, they should follow these tips to protect themselves against heat-related illnesses. For more free resources, visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Water. Rest. Shade. campaign website

Who is at risk? 

Any worker exposed to hot and humid conditions is at risk of heat-related illness, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky protective clothing and equipment. New workers, temporary workers, workers returning after a week away, and all workers during a heat wave face greater risk because they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions. Employers should let employees adjust by gradually increasing their exposure. 

Tips to prevent heat illness: 
  • Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you aren’t thirsty. 

  • Rest in the shade to cool down. 

  • Schedule heavier work during the coolest parts of the day. 

  • Wear light-colored clothing. 

  • Use safety glasses with tinted, polarized lenses. 

  • Protect your face and neck with a broad-brimmed hat that has a neck flap. 

  • Apply SPF 15-25 sun block 30 minutes before work, and then every 2 to 3 hours. 

  • Understand that the higher the heat index, the hotter the weather feels. The heat index is a measurement that takes into account temperature and humidity. 

  • Monitor your urine, making sure it is clear or lightly colored. Dark urine could be a sign of dehydration. 

  • Learn the signs of heat illness, such as cramps, vomiting, confusion and fainting, and know what to do in an emergency. 

  • Check skin for early signs of cancer, and see a dermatologist for check-ups. 


Get OSHA’s heat safety app OSHA’s heat safety app shows your risk of heat-related illness based on the heat index in your area. The app delivers reminders about protective measures, such as drinking enough fluids, scheduling breaks, gradually increasing the workload, and monitoring each other for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. 

Handling hazardous chemicals? If your workplace uses hazardous chemicals, including common cleaning products, you need to know about OSHA’s revised hazard communication standard. Beginning June 1, 2015, chemical manufacturers are required to start creating products with the new safety data sheet system introduced under the revised standard. For more information, visit OSHA’s website.