The Temperature Is Rising… And So Is the Risk of Heat Stress
The Concern of Heat Stress
Workers are at risk for heat stress and/or dehydration when the activity requires workers to be in a hot environment where their core body temperature rises above 100.4 degrees. Operations that involve high air temperatures, radiant heat sources, direct contact with hot objects or strenuous activity have a high potential to cause heat stress.
Many factors can affect a person’s sensitivity to heat such as age, weight, physical fitness level, his/her level of hydration, the use of alcohol or drugs, and even some medical conditions such as hypertension. Additionally, prior heat related injury increases the likelihood of another incident.
Heat Stress can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and/or heat rashes.
Symptoms of Heat Related Illness
- Nausea / Vomiting
- Profuse sweating
- Hot, dry skin
- Lack of consciousness
If symptoms do occur, notify your supervisor immediately. Move the worker to a shaded/cooler area. Remove outer clothing. Fan, mist or cool the worker. Provide water. Have someone stay with the worker until help arrives. Notify Emergency Medical Services or call 9-1-1 as needed. If symptoms persist, the worker needs to be evaluated by a medical professional.
Prevention of a Heat Related Illness
- Stay hydrated. 8oz of water every 15-20 minutes.
- For prolonged sweating lasting several hours, drink a sports drinks with electrolytes
- Avoid alcohol and drinks with caffeine and sugar
- Take breaks regularly to cool down
- Gradually increase exposure to the hot environment to acclimatize the body
- Recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness
- Wear breathable clothing when possible