following script can be used to deliver a 15-minute training
session to employees. The text explains the impact that hot
weather work can have on health, describes preventive measures,
and touches briefly on first aid.
You may wish to go into more detail about what is to be done
in the event of a heat stress emergency. However; it is suggested
that you try to stay strictly on topic. Obviously, you will
need to be prepared to answer questions.
TO EMPHASIZE :
plenty of water to keep body fluid levels up.
out of the heat occasionally.
alert to early warnings of heat stress, both in yourself
and in your co-workers.
stress needs to be taken seriously
Working in a hot environment puts stress on the body's cooling
system. When heat is combined with other stresses-like hard
physical work, loss of fluids, or fatigue-it may lead to heat-related
illness, disability, or even death!
The body is always generating heat and passing it to the environment.
The harder you work, the more heat your body has to lose. Heat
leaves your body in several ways:
from skin to air.
a cool object.
over age-40 need to take extra care when the weather is hot,
because our ability to sweat declines as we age. However, heat
stress can also affect individuals who are young and fit.
Water is crucial to helping the body adjust to high temperatures.
The rate of water intake must equal the increased rate of water
loss by perspiration to keep body temperature normal. When
it's hot, drink plenty of water!
Your body must work even harder to get rid of excess heat when
conditions are both hot and
humid. Unfortunately, perspiration
can't evaporate as readily under muggy conditions. The process
is easier if the surrounding air is moving. That's why we welcome
a cool breeze, or turn on a fan when the air is "sticky".
Sickness and accident rates increase when heavy work is done
at temperatures above 30 degrees.
Don't push yourself beyond your limits. It could be harmful
to your health, and could put you at increased risk of having
Heat stress hazards
Following are three common conditions that can result from the
Heavy sweating drains the body of salt,
which cannot be replaced by simply drinking water. Painful cramps
occur in the arms, legs, or stomach while on the job, or later
at home. Move to a cool area at once if cramping is experienced.
Loosen clothing and drink cool, lightly-salted water or a commercial
fluid replacement beverage. Seek medical aid if the cramps are
severe, or don't go away.
Inadequate water and salt intake causes
the body's cooling system to break down. Symptoms include heavy
sweating, cool, moist skin, body temperature over 38 degrees,
weak pulse, and normal or low blood pressure. The victim is
likely to be tired, weak, clumsy, upset, or confused. They will
be very thirsty, and will pant or breath rapidly. Their vision
may be blurred. Get medical help immediately!
can lead to heat stroke, which can kill. Move the person to
a cool, shaded area. Loosen or remove excess clothing. Provide
cool, lightly-salted water. Fan and spray the victim with cool
Heat stroke can kill a person quickly!
Once the body
uses up all its water and salt, sweating ceases. Temperature
can rise quickly. You can assume a person is suffering from
heat stroke if their body temperature is over 41 degrees, and
any of the following symptoms are present:
an ambulance immediately
confusion, distress, strange behavior.
dry, red skin.
later stages heat stroke, a victim may pass out and have
if heat stroke is suspected.
The victim' s life may be on the line ! Until help arrives,
move the victim to a cool area and remove excess clothing. Fan
and spray them with cool water. Offer sips of water if the victim
The following measures should help prevent the development of
there any questions?
down in hot weather. Your body's temperature regulating
system faces a much greater workload when temperature and
humidity are high.
early warnings of heat stress, such as headache, heavy perspiration,
high pulse rate, and shallow breathing. Take a break immediately
and get to a cooler location. Watch for heat stress signs
among your co-workers.
for hot weather. Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects
plenty of water. Don't let yourself "dry out".
your salt intake, preferably by adding salt to your food.
(Consult your physician if you are on a salt-restricted
to get used to warm weather gradually. Take it easy for
those first two or three hot days. Your body will have a
better chance to adjust if you take it slow.
out of the heat occasionally. Physical stress increases
with time in hot weather. Take breaks in a cool, shady location.
try to get a suntan while you are working! It's harder for
your internal cooling system to work through sunburned skin.
Wear a hat and long-sleeved shirt to prevent burning (which
we know can increase the risk of skin cancer.)
Finally, let's take a moment to review some of the "Do's" and
"Don'ts" of preventing heat-related illnesses.
plenty of water.
breaks in a cool, shady area.
for symptoms of a heat stress, both in yourself and
symptoms of heat stress.
to get a suntan while working.
to "keep up" with the rest of the crew,
even though you feel ill.
The information and recommendations contained in this publication
are believed to be reliable and representative of contemporary
expert opinion on the subject material. The Farm Safety Association
Inc. does not guarantee absolute accuracy or sufficiency of
subject material, nor can it accept responsibility for health
and safety recommendations that may have been omitted due
to particular and exceptional conditions and circumstances.
Copyright © 2002
Farm Safety Association Inc.
22-340 Woodlawn Road West, Guelph, Ontario N1H 7K6 (519) 823-5600.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in
NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in
NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder.