Beware of Heat-Related Health Hazards
To avoid costly heat/humidity-related worksite emergencies, it is important to train your workers and supervisors to take proper precautions when working in the heat, especially outside. It is necessary to recognize and respond quickly to the symptoms of heat-related illnesses. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that an average of 675 people die each year from complications of heat illnesses. We can help you with training and risk management programs to address this issue.
Outdoor workers should take small, but frequent, drinks of cold water; one cup every 15-30 minutes is ideal. Alert your workers to avoid drinks with excessive caffeine or sugar. Urge your employees to wear light-weight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing. Advise supervisors to monitor weather reports for heat waves, and observe workers 3-4 times an hour to catch early signs of trouble. A buddy system is ideal, so all workers recognize symptoms. If temperature and humidity conditions are severe, lighten the work load and allow frequent rests in the shade.
Call 911 for These Heat-Related Illnesses
- Heat stroke. This is the most serious heat-related illness and occurs when body temperature reaches 104+ degrees. It can quickly result in death. Symptoms include confusion, hallucinations, cessation of sweating and dry skin, slurred speech, headache, seizure and loss of consciousness. Keep in mind that some individuals can develop these symptoms suddenly and without warning.
- Heat exhaustion. This occurs when the body reaches 100+ degrees. Symptoms include headache, profuse sweating, weakness, muscle cramps, nausea and dizziness.
Heat exhaustion can quickly turn into heat stroke. For either of these conditions, call 911 and move the worker immediately to the shade. Apply ice or cold wet cloths all over the body while you wait for emergency services.
Call Us For a Risk Management Plan
Hot and humid working conditions not only cause potentially serious health issues, but also increase risk of on-the-job injuries. Remember that any time the temperature is above 90 degrees, anyone exposed to the sun could be at risk for these serious hot weather dangers. Don’t let it happen on your worksite. Call us before the heat wave hits.