Heat stress creates many hazards in the workplace for those employees who have to work in a hot environment. Hot environments can create indirect safety hazards such as causing employees to lose focus on their work task or becoming fatigued.
Heat stroke is the most serious of health problems associated with working in hot environments. It occurs when the body’s temperature regulatory system fails and sweating becomes inadequate. The body’s only effective means of removing excess heat is compromised with little warning to the victim that a crisis stage has been reached.
A heat stroke victim’s skin is hot, usually dry, red or spotted. Body temperature is usually 105F or higher, and the victim is mentally confused, delirious, perhaps in convulsions, or unconscious.
Unless the victim receives quick and appropriate treatment, death can occur.
Any person with signs or symptoms of heat stroke requires immediate hospitalization!!
However, first aid should be immediately administered. This includes removing the victim to a cool area, thoroughly soaking the clothing with water, and vigorously fanning the body to increase cooling. Further treatment at a medical facility should be directed to the continuation of the cooling process and the monitoring of complications, which often accompany the heat stroke. Early recognition and treatment of heat stroke are the only means of preventing permanent brain damage or death.
Prevention of heat illnesses:
- Allow for acclimation to hot environments. It can take two weeks before an individual’s body is used to working in a hot environment.
- Take plenty of breaks in a cool or shaded area.
- Drink plenty of water before you are thirsty.
- Keep an eye on coworkers. Monitor each other for signs of heat illness.
Signs of heat stroke are:
- High body temperature–a body temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher is the main sign of heatstroke;
- Cessation of sweating–this is often one of the first signs that your body temperature is too high. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin is hot and dry to the touch. Your body stops sweating;
- Hyperventilation–Your breathing may become rapid and shallow;
- Rapid heart rate and pulse;
- Seizures or Convulsions; and
- Neurological symptoms–you may have seizures, lose consciousness, slip into a coma, hallucinate,or have difficulty speaking or understanding what others are saying.
Treatment of heat stroke:
- Alert supervisor and call 911 immediately.
- Take worker to a shaded or cooler area if possible.
- Apply cool water to his or her body or place the victim in a shower or tub of cool water.
- Place ice packs in the armpit and groin areas if available to help lower their core temperature.
- It is important to prevent heat illnesses before they become an issue in the workplace.
- Knowing the signs, symptoms, and treatment of heat illnesses, especially heat stroke, can save someone’s life.
- When in doubt always call 911 to get an individual the proper treatment they need!!
NO NEED TO DEBATE…WHEN IT’S HOT, YOU MUST HYDRATE!
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