Heat illness prevention for outdoor workers


As temperatures begin to rise, it's important to take measures to keep outdoor workers healthy and prevent heat-related illness.

University units with personnel who work outdoors are required to implement safety measures to help prevent heat-related illness, including providing initial and annual training, and implementing a written Outdoor Heat Safety Plan.road sign reads "heatstroke"

The Washington state heat rules require University units to provide the following actions when the temperature is at or above 80 degrees:

  • Encourage and allow workers to take paid preventive cool-down rest periods as needed;
  • Provide enough shade or other way of cooling down—like an air-conditioned building or running vehicle—for all workers on a meal or rest break to use;
  • Provide enough cool drinking water for each worker to drink a quart per hour; and
  • Closely observe new personnel, personnel returning from absences, and all personnel during heat waves.

Additional protections for outdoor workers are in effect when the temperature reaches 90 degrees.

Heat-related illness can be serious, but is preventable. Visit the Outdoor Heat Exposure webpage for more information.