Heat stress is a common and dangerous issue for workers throughout the nation every summer. Heat stress can lead to heat exhaustion, and if unchecked, the more serious condition of heat stroke.
Some of the most common symptoms of heat stroke are:
- Dry, hot skin without sweating
- Loss of consciousness
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke originate in the body’s inability to cool itself sufficiently through sweating. High temperatures, humidity, direct sun, restricted air movement, physical exertion and heavy protective clothing all can play roles in elevating a worker’s body temperature beyond the safe zone.
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has some suggestions to help workers avoid overheating and stay safe on the job:
- Drink a lot of water
- Insert cooling pads into hardhats or place them around the neck
- Wear vented hardhats to allow heat to escape from the head
- Soak neckbands or small towels in cold water and wear them around the neck
- Wear a sweatband across the forehead to prevent sweat from dripping into the eyes
- Choose gloves with a liner that absorbs sweat
- Avoid cotton shirts; instead choose athletic materials that wick sweat away from the skin
- Take breaks in cool, shaded areas
- Avoid drinks such as coffee, tea and soda, as they do more harm than good
- Drink a lot of water (bears repeating)
According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), heat kills more people every year than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and lightning combined.
To learn more about how Saint Francis Medical Center can help you protect your workforce from heat-related illnesses this summer, call Chad Clippard, referral services manager, at 573-331-3019.