Heat Stress Safety
There are four environmental factors affect the amount of stress you face in a hot work area: temperature, humidity, radiant heat (such as from the sun or a furnace) and air velocity. Perhaps most important to the level of stress an individual faces are personal characteristics such as age, weight, fitness, medical condition and acclimatization to the heat.
You should know how to recognize a heat related illness. Evaluate the symptoms, then follow these first aid actions:
Heat cramps: Have the worker sip water or a sports drink. Gently stretch, massage and ice the muscle.
Heat syncope: Have the worker lie down in a cool area.
Heat exhaustion: Lay the worker down on his or her back in a cool area. Remove excessive layers of clothing. Give a sports drink or water. Do not give anything to drink if the worker vomits. Cool the worker with a cool water spray or wet cloths and a fan.
Heatstroke: Call for medical help immediately. While you wait for help to arrive, immediately cool the victim with any means at hand, preferably by immersing the victim up to the neck in cold water.
You can take preventive measures to combat the heat:
- Eat light. The more calories you take in, the more body heat you produce.
- Drink plenty of fluids before work and throughout the day. Avoid caffeine.
- Wear lightweight clothing. Wide-brimmed hats protect workers from direct sunlight.
Heat illnesses, especially in the summer, are the consequence of not recognizing the warning signs on the job. Hot conditions don’t have to be dangerous if you watch for the warning signs, and prevent heat related illness.
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