Heat illnesses can be fatal. Because of the health risks, the symptoms of heat related illness must be recognized. Excess heat buildup in the body can place abnormal stress on the body that can result in one or more serious medical conditions such as heat rash, sunburn, heat cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.
TYPES OF HEAT ILLNESS
- HEAT RASH is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather.
- SUNBURN is caused by exposure to the sun's rays causing burns and blisters.
- HEAT CRAMPS affect people who sweat excessively during strenuous work activity. The sweating depletes the body's salt and fluids. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps.
- FAINTING (Heat Syncope) is caused by a lack of adequate blood supply to the brain usually as the result of dehydration and lack of acclimatization to work in warm/humid weather.
- HEAT EXHAUSTION is caused by a loss of fluids from sweating and/or a lack of drinking proper fluids. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, sweating, cool or clammy skin, weakness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, fast or weak pulse, and/or fast or slow breathing.
- HEAT STROKE is a life-threatening emergency that occurs when the body overheats to a point where its temperature control system shuts down and heat builds up internally. The signs of impending heat stroke are altered behavior, convulsions, unconsciousness and, usually, lack of sweating. Should these symptoms occur, seek medical assistance immediately.
SYMPTOMS OF HEAT ILLNESS
- Discomfort • Headache
- Fatigue • Loss of coordination
- Vomiting • Dizziness
- Seizures • Irritability
- Fainting • Poor concentration
- Blurry vision • Muscle pain/cramps
- Confusion • Altered Behavior
- Lack of sweating • Excessive sweating
TELL A SUPERVISOR IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU OR A CO-WORKER ARE FEELING ILL FROM THE HEAT.
HEAT ILLNESS RISK FACTORS
- hot air temperature
- High relative humidity
- Physical activity
- Radiant heat (sun or other sources)
- Personal protective equipment
- Lack of air movement.
- A history of heat illness
- Insufficient water consumption
- Over/under weight
- Poor level of fitness
- Lack of acclimatization
- Poor medical condition
- Use of medications and other drugs
- Consumption of alcohol of caffeine
- Advanced age or young age
- On a low salt diet
During the first few days of working in heat, the body needs time to adjust. Acclimatization varies by individual and generally takes about 4-7 days for most people. During this acclimatization period you should:
- Start work slowly and increase the pace gradually.
- Report to a supervisor if returning to work after an absence or illness, or when changing from a cool to a hot and/or humid climate.
- Supervisors and employees should be aware that acclimatization to heat can take several days and work/rest cycles should be scheduled accordingly.
HEAT ILLNESS PREVENTION
Dehydration can occur quickly in hot weather. The average person loses between 1 and 2 liters of fluid an hour when working in hot weather
- The only way to replace your body’s fluids and prevent dehydration is to drink water.
- A minimum of 1 liter per hour is recommended.
- Once you are thirsty you may already be dehydrated.
- Avoid substituting soft drinks or coffee for water.
- If you do not need to urinate during the workday, you are not drinking enough water,
- Know the location(s) of the closest drinking water supplies.
Wear Appropriate Work Clothes and Cool Down Under Cover
- Wear a wide brim hat, sunglasses and loose fitting, light-colored fabrics,
- Where possible, stay out of direct or reflective light.
- Use sunscreen or sunblock and reapply as needed.
- Eat light meals. Hot, heavy meals can add heat to the body.
- Take cool down breaks as necessary in a cool, shady area,
LOOK OUT FOR COWORKERS
- In addition to monitoring yourself for the signs and symptoms of heat illness, it is also very important for employees to watch out for their co workers,
- Some individuals experiencing serious heat illness may not be aware of their situation.
- Utilize the “Buddy System” to help monitor coworkers.
- If you observe any symptoms of severe heat illness in yourself or your co workers, summon First Aid, the Set Medic or call 911 immediately!
PROCEDURES TO PREVENT HEAT ILLNESS
To prevent heat illnesses, the production will implement the following:
- Monitor the weather at production locations,
- Provide and document heat illness prevention training to employees,
- Conduct safety meetings addressing heat illness at high heat locations,
- Provide access to a sufficient amount of drinking water for all employees,
- Place water containers as close as practicable to the areas employees are working,
- Encourage frequent drinking of water and provide reminders as necessary,
- Provide employees access to shade and other cooling measures,
- Implement the “Buddy System” to allow coworkers to watch each other for signs and symptoms of heat illness,
- Allow employees to take preventative cool down rest breaks when necessary,
- Ensure employees and supervisors have an effective means of communication between the worksite and production to report heat related illness concerns or emergencies,
- Monitor employees who exhibit signs of heat illness,
- Ensure that procedures for contacting Emergency Medical Services are in place.
PROCEDURES FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL RESPONSE:
- Call for medical assistance. The pre-arranged medical response procedures for your location should be followed,
- If it is safe to move the individual, assist them out of the sun and find the nearest shady, air conditioned or cooler area indoors.
- If the individual is unconscious or it is not safe to move them, provide shade to the area,
- Protect the individual from falling. Ask the individual to sit or lie down to reduce the risk of a fall,
- Offer cool water in small amounts at first and only if there are no signs of nausea or vomiting.
Heat illness can be preventable when these measures are followed. Understanding heat illness signs, symptoms and risk factors can protect you and your coworkers.
Report any signs of heat illness in yourself or others to your supervisor immediately
If you observe any symptoms of severe heat illness in yourself or your co workers, summon First Aid, the Set Medic or call 911 immediately!
Upon completion of this training program, please complete this form and turn into your Production Office Coordinator.