Brief description of the dangers and symptoms of heat stress and related illnesses and precautions workers should take.
When the body is unable to cool itself by sweating, several heat-induced illnesses such as heat stress or heat exhaustion and the more severe heat stroke can occur, and can result in death.
Factors Leading to Heat Stress
High temperature and humidity; direct sun or heat; limited air movement; physical exertion; poor physical condition; some medicines; and inadequate tolerance for hot workplaces.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
- Headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting.
- Weakness and moist skin.
- Mood changes such as irritability or confusion.
- Upset stomach or vomiting.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
- Dry, hot skin with no sweating.
- Mental confusion or losing consciousness.
- Seizures or convulsions.
Preventing Heat Stress
- Know signs/symptoms of heat-related illnesses; monitor yourself and coworkers.
- Block out direct sun or other heat sources.
- Use cooling fans/air-conditioning; rest regularly.
- Drink lots of water; about 1 cup every 15 minutes.
- Wear lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothes.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or heavy meals.
What to Do for Heat-Related Illness
- Call 911 (or local emergency number) at once.
- Move the worker to a cool, shaded area.
- Loosen or remove heavy clothing.
- Provide cool drinking water.
- Fan and mist the person with water.