Heat Illness

What is heat illness?


Countless people are exposed to heat on the job, outdoors or in hot indoor environments. Operations involving high air temperatures, radiant heat sources, high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous physical activities have a high potential for causing heat-related illnesses. Workplaces with these conditions may include iron and steel foundries, nonferrous foundries, brick-firing and ceramic plants, glass products facilities, rubber products factories, electrical utilities (particularly boiler rooms), bakeries, confectioneries, commercial kitchens, laundries, food canneries, chemical plants, mining sites, smelters, and steam tunnels.

What hazards are associated with heat exposure?


The following list of heat related hazards are also the actual symptoms which are related to heat illness.

1. Heat Rash: red bump clusters on neck, upper chest, folds of skin and other areas
2. Heat Cramps: muscle spasms, moderate pain in the abdomen, arms or legs
3. Heat Exhaustion: cool – moist skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, light headedness, weakness, thirst, irritability and fast heart beat
4. Heat Stroke: confusion, fainting, seizures, excessive sweating, red or hot skin, dry skin
5. Death

What controls may be used to protect yourself from heat illness?


1. Stay hydrated at all times; including nights and weekends
2. Wear hot weather clothing such as thin, breathable long sleeve shirts and pants.
3. Protect your head and face from direct sunlight by wearing a hat and sunscreen as much as possible
4. Protect hands and other exposed skin with sunscreen
5. Use sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare and UV rays
6. Ensure adequate water is readily available before you engage in work at locations where heat illnesses can happen
7. Pay attention to other workers and report any heat illness symptoms you observe to supervisors
8. Take regular breaks if you work in hot environments
9. Utilize shade provided by trees, buildings or temporary shading products whenever and as much as possible
10. If you or anyone else experiences heat rash, reduce exposure to humidity, change into dry clothes and increase frequency of breaks
11. If you or anyone else experiences heat cramps, take a break in a shady / cool area, drink cool water, wait a few hours before resuming work. If cramps persist, take the day off and seek medical attention at the nearest walk in clinic
12. If you or anyone else experiences heat exhaustion, sit or lie down in a cool – shady area, drink cool water, cool body with cold compresses / ice packs, take the day off, seek medical attention at a local walk in clinic or emergency care facility
13. If you or anyone else experiences heat stroke, call 911, find shady – cool area to lie down in, loosen clothing, remove outer clothing, fan air onto body parts, apply cold packs on armpits, apply cool water, and keep cooling until help arrives.

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