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The Dangers Of Heat Stress

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers heat stress to be a major concern. As such, OSHA has increasingly cited employers who fail to provide adequate controls toreduce heat stress and who fail to have an adequate heat stress managementprogram in place. Assessing the workplace. The most accurate way to ascertain the heat levels present in the workplace is through the use of periodic Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index readings. Industrial hygienists use a WBGT thermometer to make this measurement, because it provides not only the temperature of the air, but also the amount of humidity present and the degree of radiant heat. The WBGT, or heat, index takes into account factors that can significantly affect how heat actually "feels" to us.

Heat Exhaustion: Signs and Treatment

Heat exhaustion is characterized by:
  • sweating
  • moist, clammy skin
  • weakness and fatigue
  • nausea and vomiting
  • slightly elevated temperature
  • headache
  • disorientation
If you suspect someone is suffering from heat exhaustion

DO:
  • Remove the victim from the heat.
  • Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan the victim, but stop if goose bumps or shivers develop.
  • Give fluids if the victim is conscious. If possible, have the victim drink a mixture of one pint water with one teaspoon saltevery 30 minutes until recovered.
  • Seek medical attention if there's no improvement.
DON'T:
  • Give any stimulant, including alcohol or cigarettes.
  • Apply ice directly to the skin.
  • Allow the victim to become so cold that he or she shivers.
  • Leave the victim alone.
Heat Stroke: Signs and Treatment

Heat stroke is characterized by:
  • hot, dry skin
  • red or spotted skin
  • extremely high body temperature
  • mental confusion
  • convulsions
  • loss of consciousness
If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke:

DO:
  • Remove the victim from the heat.
  • Remove the victim's clothing and place him or her in a cool bath, if possible (or apply cool compresses to the body).
  • Seek medical attention immediately.
DON'T:
  • Give fluids.
  • Give aspirin or any other medication to lower the fever.
  • Give any stimulant, including alcohol or cigarettes.
  • Apply ice directly to the skin.
  • Allow the victim to become so cold that he or she shivers.
  • Leave the victim alone.
How to avoid heat stress injury.

On the following pages, you'll learn about the types of personal cooling technologies available for the workplace. But there are also some more fundamental things you can do to avoid heat stress injury:
  • Drink fluids often.
  • Gradually build up your tolerance for warmer conditions.
  • Stay fit and don't overestimate your fitness level.
  • Make sure you're aware of any medical conditions you have that may affect your tolerance of heat, as well as of the effects of medications you're taking.
  • Dress appropriately within the guidelines of safety.