OSHA | Prevent Heat Illness at Work
Heat Exposure Can Be Dangerous

May 24, 2022

Workers in many different industries can be affected by heat-related illness. Heat exposure while working both outdoors and indoors can be dangerous.

Nearly 3 out of 4 fatalities from heat illness happen during the first week of working in the heat. Workers need to ease into working in warm or hot environments. New and returning workers need to build a tolerance to working in the heat (acclimatize).

Tips for protecting yourself and others while working in the heat include:

  • Drink cool water — even if you’re not thirsty, drink at least one cup every 20 minutes
  • Take rest breaks — take enough time to recover from heat given the temperature, humidity, and conditions
  • Find shade or a cool area — take breaks in a designated shady location or cool area
  • Dress for the heat — wear a hat and light-colored, loose-fitting, and breathable clothing if possible
  • Watch out for each other — monitor yourself and others for signs of heat illness
  • If wearing a face covering — change your face covering if it gets wet or soiled. Verbally check on others frequently

The following are signs of heat illness and a medical emergency:

  • Abnormal thinking or behavior
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

If any of the above signs are noticed, call 911 immediately. Once 911 has been called, cool the worker right away with water or ice and stay with the worker until help arrives.

In 2011, OSHA launched its Heat Illness Prevention campaign which educates employers and workers on the dangers of working in the heat. View OSHA’s full Prevent Heat Illness at Work poster here: https://www.osha.gov/.../publica.../3431_wksiteposter_en.pdf

Credit to: OSHA

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