It’s getting hot out there…protect yourself!
photo credit Jay Janner | American-Statesman
Report shows 215 people died in Florida from heat-related causes in the last 10 years. Of the 215 people who died from heat-related reasons, the highest number of fatalities occurred in June, followed by July and August. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/AE/AE558 /AE558-Db5cyim8me.pdf
According to OSHA, millions of U.S. workers are exposed to heat in their workplaces. Although illness from exposure to heat is preventable, every year, thousands become sick from occupational heat exposure, and some cases are fatal. Most outdoor fatalities, 50% to 70%, occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments because the body needs to build a tolerance to the heat gradually over time. The process of building tolerance is called heat acclimatization. Lack of acclimatization represents a major risk factor for fatal outcomes.
Water. Rest. Shade
Ensure that cool drinking water is available and easily accessible. (Note: Certain beverages, such as caffeine and alcohol can lead to dehydration.) Encourage workers to drink a liter of water over one hour, which is about one cup every fifteen minutes. Provide or ensure that fully shaded or air-conditioned areas are available for resting and cooling down.
How to Prevent Heat Stress
- Consume adequate fluids (water and sport drinks)
- work shorter shifts
- take frequent breaks
- quickly identify any heat illness symptoms
Heat Stress Symptoms
- Headache, dizziness, or fainting
- Weakness and wet skin
- Irritability or confusion
- Thirst, nausea, or vomiting
- May stop sweating
What to do to help
- Call a supervisor for help. If the supervisor is not available, call 911
- Have someone stay with the worker until help arrives
- Move the worker to a cooler/shaded area
- Remove outer clothing
- Fan and mist the worker with water; apply ice (ice bags or ice towels)
- Provide cool drinking water, if able to drink