Prevention of heat stress in workers is important. Employers should provide training to workers so they understand what heat stress is, how it affects their health and safety, and how it can be prevented.
Every year, thousands of workers become sick from occupational heat exposure, and some even die. Workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress. Exposure to extreme heat can result in occupational illnesses and injuries. Heat stress can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat rashes. Heat can also increase the risk of injuries in workers as it may result in sweaty palms, fogged safety glasses, and dizziness. Burns may also occur as a result of accidental contact with hot surfaces or steam. Here are some helpful tips on how to address several medical situations that can result from excessive heat exposure.
Warning Signs/Symptoms and Action Steps
Signs/Symptoms of Heat Stress:
• Heavy sweating
• Cold, pale, and clammy skin
• Fast, weak pulse
• Nausea or vomiting
What to do for Heat Stress:
• Move the person to a cooler location
• Have them lie down and loosen clothing
• Apply cool, wet clothing to as much of their body as possible
• Have them sip water
• If the individual has vomited and it continues, seek medical help IMMEDIATELY!
Signs/Symptoms of Heat Stroke:
• High body temperature
• Hot, red, dry, or moist skin
• Rapid and strong pulse
• Possible unconsciousness
What to do for Heat Stroke:
• Call 911 immediately. This is a medical emergency!
• Move the person to a cooler environment
• Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or even a cold bath
• DO NOT GIVE FLUIDS!
• Know the signs/symptoms of heat illnesses; monitor yourself and others; use a buddy system.
• Block out direct sun and other heat sources.
• Drink plenty of fluids! Drink often, and BEFORE you are thirsty.
• Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.
• Wear lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothes.
• Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours when temperatures tend to be lower.
Following this guidance can help ensure you and our workforce stay safe during exposure to excessive heat this summer!
Remember, safety begins with you!