HEAT ILLNESS CAN BE DEADLY. Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. These illnesses and deaths are preventable.
What is heat illness? The body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating isn't enough. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels if precautions are not taken. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.
Who is at risk? Your workers that are exposed to hot and humid conditions are at risk of heat illness, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky protective clothing and equipment. Some might be at greater risk than others if they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions, are in poor physical condition, are older, or if they have heart disease, high blood pressure, or are taking certain medications.
How can heat illness be prevented? Remember three simple words: water, rest, shade. Drinking water often, taking breaks, and limiting time in the heat can help prevent heat illness.
Employers should include these prevention steps in worksite training and plans. Employers’ heat stress prevention programs should also include evaluation and implementation of feasible engineering and administrative controls. Clas Consulting is available to help formulate the best program for your organization and your employees. We can aid in the quantification of your exposure, development of a program and recommendation of control measures, and by providing worker and supervisor training.
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