Preventing Heat Related Illness
Exposure to heat can cause illness and death. The most serious heat illness is heat stroke.
Other heat illnesses are categorized as heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash.
You should always take precautions when temperatures are high, and the job involves physical work.
Risk Factors for Heat Illness
High temperature and humidity
Direct sun exposure without a breeze or wind
Heavy manual labor
No recent exposure to hot climate workplaces
Not hydrating regularly
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Headache, dizziness, or fainting
Weakness and wet skin
Irritability or confusion
Thirst, nausea, or vomiting.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
May be confused, unable to think clearly, pass out, collapse, or have seizures (fits)
May stop sweating
How to Protect Workers
Provide a lot of cool water to workers close to the work area. Drink often and BEFORE you are thirsty.
At least one pint of water per hour is needed.
Modify work schedules and have frequent rest periods with water breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas.
Know signs/symptoms of heat illnesses; monitor yourself; use a buddy system.
Block out direct sun and other heat sources.
Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.
Wear lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothes.
What to Do When a Worker is ill from the Heat
- Call a supervisor for help. If the supervisor is not available, call 911.
- Have someone stay with the worker until help arrives.
- Move the worker to a cooler/shaded area.
- Remove outer clothing.
- Fan and mist the worker with water; apply ice (ice bags or ice towels).
- Provide cool drinking water, if able to drink.
IF THE WORKER IS NOT ALERT or seems confused, this may be a heat stroke.
CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY and apply ice as soon as possible.