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USPS Tells Employees to Prepare for Rising Temperatures to Help Prevent Heat Illnesses

March 25, 2024

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The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) Heat Illness Prevention Program (HIPP) is designed to protect employees from heat illnesses by educating them on how to stay safe during hot weather. HIPP is triggered during the period of April 1 through October 31, and when weather reports issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) for a particular work location indicate that outdoor heat index temperatures are expected to exceed 80° Fahrenheit during the course of a workday or work shift. NWS weather reports can be obtained at weather.gov.

Rising heat index temperatures can put a person at risk for heat illnesses. When the body is unable to cool itself by sweating, heat illnesses such as heat stress, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke may occur. Symptoms range from mild and easily correctable to severe and potentially life-threatening.

High temperatures and humidity, direct sun or heat, limited air movement, physical exertion, poor physical condition, and some medicines are also contributing factors to heat illnesses.

Heat-related deaths are preventable by recognizing the symptoms and knowing what to do. Watch out for the following signs:

Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating;

Headaches;

Confusion or dizziness;

Nausea or vomiting;

Rapid pulse;

Muscle cramps;

Weakness or fatigue; and

Rashes.

If an employee experiences signs of heat-related illness, they must seek immediate medical assistance by calling 9–1–1.

Here are some proactive tips to help beat the heat:

Hydrate before, during, and after work. Prevention is important — drink at least 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes.

Dress appropriately for the weather. On warm days, wear light-colored, loose-fitting, and breathable clothing to keep your body temperature down.

Use the shade to stay cool. When possible, use shaded areas to stay out of direct sunlight.

For more information about preventing heat illnesses, review the following resources:

HERO Safety talk: Heat Illness Prevention Program Safety Talk #2068;

HERO Course: Heat Stress Recognition and Prevention Training;

HIPP Materials and Resources — Safety and Health Management Tool (SHMT) Library — Awareness Campaigns — OSH Group Current — HIPP FY24;

Safety Depends on Me Videos — MyHR — Safety Awareness Programs;

Safety Resource Tools, MyHR — Workplace Safety — Heat Illness Prevention;

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website: osha.gov/heat; and

National Safety Council website: nsc.org/community-safety/safety-topics/seasonal-safety/summer-safety/heat.

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