Avoid Heat Stress Illness This Summer

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Avoid Heat Stress Illness This Summer

The days are growing longer, the sun is shining bright and the temperature is slowly rising. Summer is nearly upon us! As the mercury levels continue to increase, it’s time to start thinking about heat stress and how to avoid heat stress illness.

First of all, what are some of the illnesses brought on by heat stress and their symptoms? Heat stress can result in heat stroke, cramps, rashes and heat exhaustion. Symptoms of potential heat stress include hallucination, chills, slurred speech, confusion, nausea and clammy skin. Heat can increase the risk in injuries resulting from sweaty palms, fogged up safety glasses and dizziness, as well as potential burns from contact with hot surfaces and/or steam.

There are some heat relief products such as cooling vests, towels, sweatbands and hard hat cooling accessories that might bring temporary relief, but there are more precautions to take to help prevent heat stress illness. Heat stress illness prevention is critical to the health and safety of your employees, so be sure to take these steps to help provide every worker and work site with the safest possible conditions.

The first step to prevent heat stress and illness is to educate. It’s necessary to educate yourself and your work team on the signs of heat stress, ways to avoid it and what to do when you feel it coming on. You also must arm them with the proper tools to monitor the situation. Workers should understand the hazards of heat stress, be able to recognize the symptoms, have access to the proper protective clothing and understand how to react to a heat stress situation.

Your safety team needs to provide training and education to their employees on how to deal with heat stress. They must ensure that each work site has access to water and shade.  Schedule grueling work for the cooler parts of the day and monitor workers for signs of heat stress.

As a worker, it’s important to wear lightweight and breathable clothing and take recovery breaks during the day. Be sure to stay hydrated and let someone know if you’re feeling lightheaded or out of breath.

To learn more about managing heat stress illnesses and how to keep your worksite safe this summer, contact our safety hotline 1-800-333-3122, ext. 5867. Enjoy the summer and stay safe!