Excessive heat exposure on the job site is unsafe. Heat related illness not only makes you feel terrible, it can also harm your health, hurt job performance, increase injury potential and even cause death.
Why is it important to prevent heat illness?
- Heat illness can be a matter of life and death. Workers die from heat stroke every summer and every death is preventable.
- When heat stroke doesn’t kill immediately, it can shut down major body organs causing acute heart, liver, kidney and muscle damage, nervous system problems, and blood disorders.
- Having a serious injury or death occur at work affects everyone at a worksite.
- Workers suffering from heat exhaustion are at greater risk for accidents, since they are less alert and can be confused.
Health Effects of Heat:
When the body is unable to cool off by sweating, heat-induced illnesses such as heat exhaustion, and heat stroke can occur. These illnesses are very serious, and can sometimes result in death.
High temperature and humidity, direct sun or heat, limited air movement, physical exertion, poor physical condition, some medications, and inadequate tolerance for hot workplaces or areas can all contribute to heat stress illness.
- Symptoms: Fatigue, headache, dizziness, muscle weakness, nausea, chills, tingling of hands or feet, confusion, loss of coordination, fainting and collapse.
- Causes: Dehydration, lack of acclimatization, reduction of blood in circulation, strain on circulatory system, and reduced flow of blood to the brain.
- First aid: Rest in the shade or a cool place. Drink plenty of water (preferred) or electrolyte fluids.
- Symptoms: Body typically has a core temperature exceeding 104 degrees F and can no longer cool itself.
- Causes: Can occur suddenly if heat exhaustion is not treated, and can be fatal.
- First Aid: A person suffering heat stroke needs immediate attention and should be taken to a medical facility as soon as possible. Brain damage and even death are possible.
Call 911 or summon medical aid immediately
Move to cool shaded area
Douse the body continuously with water.
Prevention Tips to Avoid Heat Related Illness in the Workplace:
- Increase the frequency and duration of rest breaks
- Drink 5-7 ounces of cool water every 15-20 minutes to keep hydrated
- Cool off under a tree, fan, or an air conditioned room
- Perform the more strenuous tasks during cooler times of the day
- Work in the shade when possible
- Wear cotton / loose clothing which allows moisture to evaporate quickly