Photo Credit: Joe Woodruff / Bonsucro

Significance and Innovation

In 2011, the US Occupational Health Safety Administration (OSHA) launched a campaign to prevent heat-related illness in the workplace, focusing on provision of water, rest and shade. The Adelante Initiative is based on this concept and builds on occupational health protocols employed by the San Antonio sugar mill and the WE Program. The Adelante Initiative receives support from both OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (CDC-NIOSH).

What sets the Adelante Initiative a part from previous efforts is the scientific evaluation of program implementation and barriers to implementation. Program evaluation will also focus on the effectiveness of work practices designed to control, or reduce, the effects of environmental heat exposure and demanding physical labor in an industrial agricultural setting. In addition, we include in this evaluation other common occupational and environmental exposures that may interact with heat, in particular agrochemicals.

The lessons learned will be shared for use by stakeholders globally as well as certification mechanisms to promote the widest possible adoption of evidence-based occupational health practices.

Excessive mortality rates associated with heat waves occur not only in the ageing population, but also among occupationally active adults in tropical and temperate regions. This project addresses an important knowledge gap that will help health care systems better anticipate the health effects of unseasonably hot weather, events that will occur with increasing frequency due to global warming.

1. https://www.osha.gov/heat/index.html