These hot summer days can make working conditions difficult, and outdoor and indoor heat exposure can be dangerous. Here are some ways to protect yourself and others from the heat:
- Ease into Work.
- Nearly 3 out of 4 fatalities from heat illness happen during the first week of work.
- New and returning workers need to build tolerance to heat (acclimatize) and take frequent breaks.
- Follow the 20% Rule. On the first day, work no more than 20% of the shift’s duration at full intensity in the heat. Increase the duration of time at full intensity by no more than 20% a day until workers are used to working in the heat
- Drink Cool Water
- Drink cool water even if you are not thirsty — at least 1 cup every 20 minutes.
- Take Rest Breaks
- Take enough time to recover from heat given the temperature, humidity, and conditions.
- Find Shade or a Cool Area
- Take breaks in a designated shady or cool location.
- Dress for the Heat
- Wear a hat and light-colored, loose-fitting, and breathable clothing if possible.
- Watch Out for Each Other
- Monitor yourself and others for signs of heat illness.
- If Wearing a Face Covering...
- Change your face covering if it gets wet or soiled. Verbally check on others frequently.
It is important to know first aid for heat illness. The following are signs of a medical emergency:
- Abnormal thinking or behavior
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness
If you find a worker in a medical emergency due to heat illness:
- Call 911 immediately
- Cool the worker right away with water or ice
- Stay with the worker until help arrives
Watch for any other signs of heat illness and act quickly. When in doubt, call 911.
If a worker experiences:
- Headache or nausea
- Weakness or dizziness
- Heavy sweating or hot, dry skin
- Elevated body temperature
- Decreased urine output
Take these actions:
- Give water to drink
- Remove unnecessary clothing
- Move to a cooler area
- Cool with water, ice, or a fan
- Do not leave alone
- Seek medical care if needed
For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov/heat. Stay cool!
Copyright 2023 National Safety Council