This one-page NIOSH infographic summarizes the key steps that construction employers should take to keep their crews safe from the real dangers of heat-related illnesses, which include heat stroke, an emergency condition that is often fatal.
Develop an acclimatization plan
Acclimatization is the result of beneficial physiological adaptations (e.g.,increased sweating efficiency and stabilization of the circulation) that occur after gradual increased exposure to a hot environment.
Gradually increase the time spent in hot environmental conditions over a 7-14 day period.
For new workers, the schedule should be no more than 20% exposure to heat on day 1 and an increase of no more than 20% exposure on each additional day.
For workers who have had previous experience with the job, the acclimatization schedule should be no more than:
Set up a buddy system
Check your workers routinely to make sure...
- they make use of readily available water and shade.
- they don't have heat-related symptoms.
Schedule and encourage frequent rest breaks...
...with water breaks in shaded or air-conditioned recovery areas.
Emphasize the need for appropriate clothing
Encourage workers to wear clothing that is...
Cotton clothing can be soaked in water to aid cooling.
Be aware that protective clothing or personal protective equipment may increase the risk of heat stress.
Encourage workers to drink plenty of fluids...
...such as drinking small amounts of water before becoming thirsty.
During moderate activity in moderately hot conditions, workers should drink about...
1 cup every 15 to 20 minutes.
Learn more about heat stress at: www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health