The hottest weather of the summer has arrived in the Omaha area, just as the calendar is preparing to turn to September.
Heat waves are to be expected in this part of the country, but two things are noteworthy about this one:
• It's coming after a long stretch of relatively mild summer weather, so people aren't acclimated.
• It's likely to be prolonged, stretching into two weeks.
Dr. Ron Sarno, emergency room medical director for Midlands Hospital in Papillion, said both factors will add to the physical stress people experience.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration expects employers to provide workers with safe conditions, whether those employees are working outdoors or indoors.
The keys to worker safety are drinking plenty of liquids and resting in shade or air conditioning. People should drink water every 15 minutes, and may need to rest as frequently as every 20 minutes.
Read more about OSHA's guidelines
OSHA has developed an app that workers and employers can use to tell how often they should take breaks from the weather.
One of the problems with heat-related illness is that an individual may not realize that he is becoming ill. That's why OSHA recommends that people work in pairs and that employees watch each other for signs of illness.
For the third year in a row, the Labor Department and the National Weather Service are working together to alert workers and employers to the risks of summer heat. The weather service now includes outdoor workers in summer heat advisories.