Extremely hot weather can cause serious health effects such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which may lead to death. People who work in extreme heat are more likely to become dehydrated and are more likely to get heat-related illness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages you to help your employees stay cool, hydrated, and informed.
• Schedule tasks for earlier or later in the day to avoid midday heat.
• Make sure workers are given breaks to cool off and drink water.
• Encourage workers to: Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working and not to wait until they are thirsty to drink. Avoid alcohol or liquids containing large amounts of sugar. Wear and reapply sunscreen as indicated on the package.
• Wear a brimmed hat and loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
• Seek medical care immediately if employee experiences symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea, or vomiting. For more information visit:
Working in Heat
Stop all activity and get to a cool environment if you feel faint or weak. In addition to the Centers for Disease Control list at the beginning of this article:
• Ask if tasks can be scheduled for earlier or later in the day to avoid midday heat.
• Spend time in air-conditioned buildings during breaks and after work.
• Seek medical care immediately if you or a co-worker has symptoms of heat-related illness.
• For more information, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness
Muscle cramping might be the first sign of heat-related illness and may lead to heat exhaustion or stroke. Here is how you can recognize heat exhaustion and heat stroke and what to do:
• Heavy sweating
• Cold, pale, and clammy skin
• Fast, weak pulse
• Nausea or vomiting
What You Should Do:
• Move to a cooler location.
• Lie down and loosen your clothing.
• Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your
body as possible.
• Sip water.
• If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.
• High body temperature (above 103°F)
• Hot, red, dry or moist skin
• Rapid and strong pulse
• Possible unconsciousness
What You Should Do:
• Call 911 immediately – this is a medical emergency.
• Move the person to a cooler environment.
• Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath.
• Do NOT give fluids.
People with Chronic Medical Conditions
People with a chronic medical condition are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Also, they may be taking medications that can worsen the impact of extreme heat. People in this category need the following information.
• Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
• Check on a friend or neighbor, and have someone do the same for you.
• Check the local news for health and safety updates regularly.
• Don’t use the stove or oven to cook – it will make you and your house hotter.
• Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
• Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
• Seek medical care immediately if you or someone you know experiences symptoms
of heat-related illness.
For more information about protecting workers from heat-related illnesses visit:• OSHA online at: www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatstress/index.html
• NIOSH online at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/