Heat Exhaustion Prevention Tips and Training

This summer, risk management & safety (RMS) would like to remind you of the importance of remaining safe, whether working indoors or outdoors, especially with temperatures consistently over 100 degrees.  
 
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious medical emergencies resulting from unhealthy and unsafe practices in hot environments. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has provided some tips to remain safe and healthy in hot weather which include:
 
Water

  • Proper hydration is essential to prevent heat-related illness
  • Employees should be encouraged to drink at least one cup (8 ounces) of water every 20 minutes while working in the heat
  • Employees should drink electrolyte-containing beverages for jobs that last more than two hours
    • Cold water is sufficient for jobs less than two hours

Rest & Shade

  • Heat conditions can change rapidly and employees should monitor for signs of heat illnesses
  • Breaks should be long enough and in a cool location for workers to recover from the heat  
    • When taking breaks outdoors, it should be in a shady area, air-conditioned vehicle, a nearby building, or a tent with fans or misting devices
    • When taking breaks indoors, employees should rest in cool or air-conditioned areas away from heat sources

Clothing

  • Dress appropriately for the heat: wear lightweight, natural fabrics and a head covering

Foods

  • Eat light refreshing foods like fruit and vegetables to keep you hydrated
    • Heavy and hot foods sometimes accelerate dehydration

RMS offers an online training course to help you recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stress and what you can do to protect yourself. Additionally, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) offers a phone app that calculates heat stress index and recommendations to prevent exposure.

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