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Osha Niosh Heat Illness Infosheet[1]

Osha Niosh Heat Illness Infosheet[1]

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Published by Keith Holmes

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Published by: Keith Holmes on Oct 08, 2012
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01/22/2013

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OSHA
NIOSH
INFOSHEET
ProtectingWorkers from Heat Illness
At times, workers may be required to work in hotenvironments for long periods.When the human bodyis unable to maintain a normal temperature, heat-relatedillnesses can occur and may result in death.This factsheet provides information to employers on measuresthey should take to prevent heat-related illnesses anddeath.
Make sure that someone stays with the workeruntil help arrives.
Move the worker to a shaded, cool area andremove outer clothing.Wet the worker with cool water and circulate theair to speed cooling.Place cold wet cloths or ice all over the body orsoak the worker’s clothing with cold water.
Heat Exhaustion
is the next most serious heat-related health problem.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion: 
HeadacheNauseaDizzinessWeaknessIrritabilityThirstHeavy sweatingElevated body temperatureDecreased urine output
Ifaworkershowssignsofpossibleheatexhaustion
Workers with signs or symptoms of heatexhaustion should be taken to a clinic oremergency room for medical evaluation andtreatment.• Ifmedicalcareisnotavailable,
call911immediately.
Make sure that someone stays with the workeruntil help arrives.Workers should be removed from the hot areaand given liquids to drink.Remove unnecessary clothing including shoesand socks.Cool the worker with cold compresses to thehead, neck, and face or have the worker washhis or her head, face and neck with cold water.
FactorsThat Increase Risk toWorkers
High temperature and humidityDirect sun exposure (with no shade)Indoor exposure to other sources of radiantheat (ovens, furnaces)Limited air movement (no breeze)Low fluid consumptionPhysical exertionHeavy personal protective clothing andequipmentPoor physical condition or health problemsSome medications, for example, differentkinds of blood pressure pills or antihistaminesPregnancyLack of recent exposure to hot workingconditionsPrevious heat-related illnessAdvanced age (65+)
Health Problems Caused byHot Environments
Heat Stroke
is the most serious heat-related healthproblem. Heat stroke occurs when the body’stemperature regulating system fails and bodytemperature rises to critical levels.
Heat stroke isa medical emergency that may rapidly result indeath!
Symptoms of heat stroke include: 
ConfusionLoss of consciousnessSeizuresVery high body temperatureHot, dry skin or profuse sweating
If a worker shows signs of possible heat stroke: 
Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency!While first aid measures are being implemented,call 911 and get emergency medical help.
 
Encourage frequent sips of cool water. If theworker is unable to drink, get emergencymedical help immediately.
Heat Cramps
are muscle pains usually caused byphysical labor in a hot work environment. Heatcramps are caused by the loss of body salts andfluid during sweating.
If a worker shows signs of possible heat cramps: 
Workers should replace fluid loss by drinkingwater and having a snack, and/or carbohydrate-electrolyte replacement liquids (e.g., sportsdrinks) every 15 to 20 minutes.Workers should avoid salt tablets.Get medical help if the worker has heartproblems, is on a low sodium diet, or if crampsdo not subside within one hour.
Heat Rash
is the most common problem in hotwork environments. Heat rash is caused bysweating and looks like a red cluster of pimples orsmall blisters. Heat rash usually appears on theneck, upper chest, in the groin, under the breastsand in elbow creases.
If a worker shows signs of possible heat rash: 
The best treatment for heat rash is to provide acooler, less humid work environment.The rash area should be kept dry.Powder may be applied to increase comfort.Ointments and creams should not be used on aheat rash. Anything that makes the skin warm ormoist may make the rash worse.
Preventing Heat Illness
The best way to prevent heat illness is to make thework environment cooler.
Recommendations forAll Work Environments (Indoors and Outdoors): 
Train workers and supervisors about the hazardsleading to heat illness and ways to prevent them.Train workers to recognize symptoms in them-selves and others.Train and encourage workers to immediatelyreport symptoms in themselves and others.If you have someone who is new to the job orwho has been away for more than a week,gradually increase the workload or allow morefrequent breaks the first week.Provide workers with plenty of cool water inconvenient, visible locations close to the workarea. Water should have a palatable (pleasantand odor-free) taste and water temperatureshould be 50-60
o
F if possible.Remind workers to frequently drink smallamounts of water before they become thirsty tomaintain good hydration. Simply telling them todrink plenty of fluids is not sufficient. Duringmoderate activity, in moderately hot conditions,workers should drink about 1 cup every 15 to 20minutes. Instruct workers that urine should beclear or lightly colored.Workers should eat regular meals and snacksas they provide enough salt and electrolytes toreplace those lost through sweating as long asenough water is consumed. Electrolyte drinks(e.g. Gatorade
®
) are usually not necessary.Set up a buddy system if possible; if not, checkroutinely (several times an hour) to make sureworkers are making use of water and shade andnot experiencing heat-related symptoms.Make workers aware that it is harmful to drinkextreme amounts of water. Workers shouldgenerally not drink more than 12 quarts (48 cups)in a 24 hour period. If higher amounts of fluidreplacement are needed due to prolonged workin high heat conditions, a more comprehensiveheat illness prevention program may bewarranted.Reduce the physical demands of the job. If heavyjob tasks cannot be avoided, change work/restcycles to increase the amount of rest time.Schedule frequent rest periods with water breaksin shaded or air-conditioned recovery areas.Note that air conditioning will NOT result in lossof heat tolerance and is recommended for restbreaks.
Additional Recommendations for OutdoorWork Environments 
Monitor weather reports daily and reschedulejobs with high heat exposure to cooler times of the day. Be extra vigilant during heat waveswhen air temperatures rise above normal.When possible, routine maintenance and repairprojects should be scheduled for the coolerseasons of the year.
Additional Recommendations for IndoorWork Environments 
Indoor workplaces may be cooled by using airconditioning or increased ventilation, if cooler airis available from the outside.Other methods to reduce indoor temperatureinclude providing reflective shields to redirectradiant heat, insulating hot surfaces, anddecreasing water vapor pressure, e.g., by sealingsteam leaks and keeping floors dry.The use of fans to increase the air speed over theworker will improve heat exchange between the

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