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Protecting Workers from Heat Stress

Heat Illness
Exposure to heat can cause illness and death. The most serious heat illness is heat stroke. Other heat illnesses, such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash, should also be avoided.

There are precautions your employer should take any time temperatures are high and the job involves physical work.

Risk Factors for Heat Illness
• High temperature and humidity, direct sun exposure, no breeze or wind
• Low liquid intake
• Heavy physical labor
• Waterproof clothing
• No recent exposure to hot workplaces

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
• Headache, dizziness, or fainting
• Weakness and wet skin
• Irritability or confusion
• Thirst, nausea, or vomiting

Symptoms of Heat Stroke
• May be confused, unable to think clearly, pass out, collapse, or have seizures (fits)
• May stop sweating

To Prevent Heat Illness, Your Employer Should
• Provide training about the hazards leading to heat stress and how to prevent them.
• Provide a lot of cool water to workers close to the work area. At least one pint of water per hour is needed.

SOURCE:
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
www.osha.gov
(800) 321-OSHA (6742)

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