Energy & Environment

Deadly Heat: OSHA Says Houston Worker Death Preventable

This summer’s extreme heat may have been what killed a laborer in Houston and now federal workplace safety investigators are citing his employer.

Construction worker takes break
Worker takes a break at a classroom building under construction on the University of Houston campus

 

Back on June 24th, the high hit 99 degrees in Houston. It was on that Wednesday that a 59 year old man was hired for the day to work outdoors, sorting aluminum cans at a recycling company on Houston’s north side.

That’s according to OSHA, the federal workplace safety agency. OSHA says the man wasn’t used to the extreme heat. He apparently collapsed and then later died.

OSHA says his death was preventable and has now cited Al Star Recycling for allegedly failing to educate its workers about heat illness. We tried but didn’t get a comment from the company.

We reported earlier this summer how OSHA was warning employers to take precautions after four workers from a variety of workplaces in Houston were hospitalized because of heat illnesses.

“We’ve been emphasizing that workers should be provided plenty of water we recommend up to four cups of water per hour, taking breaks very frequently,” said Josh Flesher, Assistant Regional Administrator at OSHA’s office in Dallas.

OSHA even recommends using skin patches that turn color if a worker is over-heating. OSHA says to not take such precautions can be deadly.

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Dave Fehling

Dave Fehling

Director of News and Public Affairs

As Director of News and Public Affairs, Dave Fehling manages the radio news operation at Houston's NPR station. Previously, he was a reporter at the station, covering the oil & gas industry and its impact on the environment. He won top state honors for in-depth and investigative reporting as well...

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