Extreme Heat Tips
Heat-related illnesses can be prevented. Prevention requires employers and workers to recognize heat hazards. Management should commit to:
- Take extra precautions to protect new workers.
- Train supervisors and workers to control and recognize heat hazards.
- Determine, for each worker throughout each workday, whether total heat stress is too high, both from the conditions of that day and recognizing carryover effect possibilities.
- Implement engineering and administrative controls to reduce heat stress.
- Provide sufficient rest, shade, and fluids.
Personal Risk Factors
Some workers handle heat stress less effectively than others. Heat intolerance happens for a variety of reasons. Personal risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Lower level of physical fitness
- Use of certain medications such as diuretics and some psychiatric or blood pressure medicines
- Some medications can result in a worker’s inability to feel heat conditions and/or the inability to sweat, so symptoms of heat stress may not be evident.
- Alcohol use
- Use of illicit drugs (such as opioids, methamphetamine, or cocaine)
This list is not comprehensive. Other medical conditions can also predispose workers to heat-related illnesses.