Summer has arrived and working in high temperatures can cause major health issues if the correct precautions are not taken. With high air temperatures, radiant heat sources, high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects or strenuous physical activities, there is a high potential for heat stress. When the body is unable to cool itself by sweating, several heat-induced illnesses such as heat exhaustion and stroke can occur and can result in death.
Factors Associated with Heat Stress
- High temperature and humidity, direct sun exposure, no breeze or wind
- Low liquid intake
- Heavy physical labor
- Waterproof clothing
- No recent exposure to hot workplaces
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
What to Do for Heat-Related Illness
- Call 911 or the designated emergency number for your site
- Move the worker to a cool, shaded area
- Loosen or remove heavy clothing
- Provide cool drinking water
- Fan and mist the person with water
Heat-related illnesses can be prevented if the right precautions are taken. Safe work practices to reduce the chance of a heat-related illness include work/rest cycles, drinking water even if you are not thirsty, wearing light-colored clothing and building up a tolerance to working in the heat.
Heat-related illnesses should not be taken lightly, it can become a very serious situation in a short amount of time. Please look out for one another. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not. Be safe, stay hydrated and keep cool.
Lee’s training programs and commitment to safety keeps everyone safe on the job site. Learn more about our safety team & safety training today.