Heat Illness Hazards
Operations involving high air temperatures, radiant heat sources, high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous physical activities have a high potential to induce heat stress. When the body is unable to cool itself by sweating, heat-induced illnesses including heat exhaustion and heat stroke can occur.
Prevent Heat Stress
- Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. Monitor yourself and your coworkers.
- Block out direct sun or other heat sources.
- Use cooling fans or air conditioning when available.
- Rest regularly.
- Drink lots of water: about one cup every fifteen minutes.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or heavy meals.
Heat Cramps are painful muscle spasms caused when workers drink large quantities of water but fail to replace their bodies' salt loss. Tired muscles are most susceptible to cramps. Cramps may occur during or after working hours and may be relieved by taking liquids by mouth or IV saline solutions for quicker relief, if medically required.
Heat Rash (Prickly Heat) may occur in hot and humid environments where sweat is not easily removed from the surface of the skin by evaporation. When extensive or complicated by infection, heat rash can be so uncomfortable that it inhibits sleep and impedes performance. It can be prevented by resting i a cool place and allowing the skin to dry.
Fainting (heat syncope) may be a problem for the worker who is not acclimatized to heat and who simply stands still in the heat. Victims usually recover quickly after a brief period of lying down. Moving aroundm, rather than standing still, will usually reduce the likelihood of fainting.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
- Headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
- Weakness and moist skin
- Mood changes such as irritability or confusion
- Upset stomach or vomiting
- Dry, hot skin with no sweating
- Mental confusion or losing consciousness
- Seizures or convulsions
- Call 911.
- Move the worker to a cool, shaded area.
- Loosen or remove heavy clothing.
- Provide cool drinking water.
- Fan and mist the person with water.