With summer in full swing, many workers are embracing the heat that comes with their daily work responsibilities. Along with the warmer temperatures, also comes the potential dangers of heat-related illnesses. It’s important to be aware of these possible illnesses and know what you can do to protect yourself and your employees.
What is a Heat-Related Illness?
A heat-related illness occurs when the body is unable to regulate a normal temperature. This can be very dangerous and should be monitored. A few factors that may contribute include:
- High temperature
- Low fluid consumption
- Direct sun exposure
- Physical exertion
- Heat stroke
- Symptoms may include high body temperature with no sweating, confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures. If someone shows these signs, seek medical help immediately.
- Heat exhaustion
- Symptoms may include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, confusion, thirst, heavy sweating and a body temperature greater than 100.4ºF.
- Heat cramps
- Symptoms may include muscle pains caused by the loss of body salts and fluid during sweating.
- Heat rash
- Symptoms may include rash that looks like red cluster of pimples or small blisters.
While working in the heat presents challenges, there are easy steps workers can take to help prevent heat-related illness. Two key items are hydration and a shaded or air-conditioned space. Hydration is key, and workers need to make sure they drink plenty of water during their work day. Small, but frequent, amounts of water is essential. Additionally, a shaded or air-conditioned space to take rest breaks is crucial so that workers do not become over-heated.
Not only should you be protecting yourself from the warm temperatures, but you should take precautions with the sun as well. Using sunscreen, wearing hats and sunglasses, as well as wearing covering (yet cool) clothing are easy steps to protect yourself from the sun.
Overall, it’s important that workers pay attention to any heat-related symptoms that they or a coworker may be experiencing. Always monitor these symptoms and take extra precautions when working in hot conditions. Learn more about rigging safety tips on our blog.
Information for this article can be found in OSHA Fact Sheets. Please view these OSHA Fact Sheets for more detailed information:
Warning: It is not intended, nor should be construed, that the information contained herein takes precedence over any regulations and requirements, local, state, federal, OEM or any other ruling body.