When the body is unable to cool itself by sweating, several heat-induced illnesses such as heat stress or heat exhaustion and more severe heat stroke can occur. All are serious conditions and should be treated immediately.
Factors Leading to Heat Stress
- High temperature and humidity
- Direct sun or heat
- Limited air movement
- Physical exertion
- Poor physical condition
- Some medicines
- Inadequate acclimatization to work in hot area
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
- Headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting
- Weakness and moist skin
- Mood changes such as irritability and confusion
- Upset stomach or vomiting
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
- Dry, hot skin with no sweating
- Mental confusion of losing consciousness
- Seizures or convulsions
Preventing Heat Stress
- Know signs/symptoms – monitor yourself and watch for symptoms in coworkers.
- Block direct sun or other heat sources with EZ-Ups or other shelters or shade, and take frequent advantage of any shade.
- Use cooling fans/air conditioning where possible.
- Rest regularly.
- Drink plenty of water – about 1 cup every 15 minutes.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes and broad-brimmed hats.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks and heavy meals.
What to Do for Heat-Related Illness
- Call local emergency personnel (911) immediately.
- While waiting for help to arrive:
- Move the worker to a cool, shady area.
- Loosen or remove heavy clothing.
- Provide cool drinking water.
- Fan and mist the person with water.
For more complete information, contact your Production Safety Representative.