Glasses of Water

Washington state issues hazard alert on heat stress as emergency rules take effect

July 14, 2021

TUMWATER — The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) issued a Hazard Alert today calling on employers to increase monitoring of workers for signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses.

Whether it is record-setting temperatures or exceptionally warm days, high temps can be a real hazard for people who work outdoors.

The L&I alert reinforces emergency outdoor heat exposure rules, effective Tuesday, July 13, that require employers to provide regular rest periods, access to shade and hydration, and other increasingly proactive steps as temperatures rise to 89 and 100 degrees.

The hazard alert details specific steps employers must take to protect workers by looking for signs or symptoms of heat illness and removing them from danger so they can recover or receive prompt medical attention.

It also reminds workers of key things to watch for and steps they can take to prevent heat illness.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be serious or even fatal. Symptoms of heat-related illness include:

Heat Stroke
  • Hot, red dry skin

  • No sweating

  • Fast, strong pulse

  • Body temperature of 104 degrees or higher

  • Headache, dizziness, confusion

  • Losing consciousness

Heat Exhaustion
  • Cold, pale, clammy skin

  • Heavy sweating

  • Fast, weak pulse

  • Headache, dizziness, mood change

  • Tiredness, weakness, muscle cramps

The emergency rules were filed Friday by L&I, and update existing rules that are in place annually from May through the end of September.

Visit L&I's Be Heat Smart web page for additional steps employers and workers can take to prevent heat-related illnesses. 

Spanish version of the Hazard Alert is also available.