We are in the midst of a summer heat wave and want to take a moment to remind employers of the significance of heat related illnesses. Heat Stress is a group of conditions due to overexposure to, or overexertion in, excess environmental temperature. This encompasses heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaust, and heat stroke. In severe cases a heat-related illness such as heat stroke can be fatal.
Never ignore any signs or symptoms of heat stress. Immediately get a worker first aid treatment and medical care when necessary.
Having a designated cooling station is an effective way to reduce heat related illness risks. Cool air and water are essential to alleviate and prevent the worsening of heat-related symptoms. A cooling station offers a preventative solution, by allowing workers to take a break from the heat before a heat related illness occurs. It is also an important first aid response measure in the event of a heat related emergency on site.
Additional safety tips to avoid heat stress in the first place include:
· Wearing light, loose clothing that allows sweat to evaporate. Light-colored garments absorb less heat from the sun.
· Drinking small amounts of water (8 oz) every half hour. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
· Avoiding coffee, tea or other drinks that make you go to the bathroom frequently.
· Avoid eating hot, heavy meals that increase your body temperature.
· Be aware that your physical condition can reduce your ability to deal with the heat. Age, weight, fitness, health conditions (heart disease or high blood pressure), recent illness, or medications can all affect your ability to withstand high temperatures.
Stay safe and stay cool this summer!