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~ Prepare For Hot Weather ~

* Heat Stress #2 *

Heat stress alert!

With hot weather comes the realization that some workers will be exposed to excessive heat — hot conditions that pose special hazards to their safety and health. Knowing the warning signs and what to do if heat stress occurs could turn around a potentially dangerous situation.

Environmental factors that play a role in the amount of heat stress a worker faces include temperature, humidity, radiant heat (such as from the sun or a furnace), and air velocity. Personal characteristics such as age, weight, fitness, and medical condition also are important factors in a person’s ability to deal with excessive heat. Keep the following information handy, especially for the next few months.

Heat exhaustion — Results from loss of fluid through sweating when a worker has failed to drink enough fluids. If heat exhaustion is not treated, the illness may advance to heat stroke. Symptoms include:

What should be done?

Heat stroke — Caused by the body’s failure to regulate its core temperature. Sweating stops and the body can no longer rid itself of excess heat. Victims of heat stroke will die unless treated promptly. Symptoms include:

What should be done?

Heat cramps — Caused when workers drink large quantities of water but fail to replace their bodies’ salt loss. Tired muscles — those used for performing the work — are usually the ones most susceptible to cramps. Symptoms include painful muscle spasms.

What should be done?

Provide liquids by mouth or saline solutions intravenously for quicker relief, if medically determined to be required.

Fainting — Occurs when a worker is not acclimated to a hot environment and stands still for long periods of time. A temporary decrease of blood to the brain causes the person to lose consciousness.

What should be done?

Victims usually recover quickly after a brief period of lying down. Encourage moving around rather than standing still to reduce the possibility of fainting

Heat rash — Also known as prickly heat, may occur in hot and humid environments where sweat is not easily removed from the surface of the skin by evaporation. Often, it occurs in areas where clothing presses or rubs against the skin. The sweat ducts become plugged, causing a rash to appear. When extensive or complicated by infection, heat rash can be so uncomfortable that it inhibits sleep and impedes a person’s performance.

What should be done?

The person should rest in a cool place, allowing the skin to dry.

* The Hot Topic is Keeping Cool *

We welcome comments about this article, and your requests for future topics.

    If you have a specific topic you would like to see covered here or that you may need for your company, please send an Email to our Tail Gate Safety Topics editor, Dave Miller at or to Thanks!


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Copyright © 2006 by David E. Miller

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