Working Safely in Hot Conditions


Whether you work indoors or out, heat can cause major health problems. As the temperatures soar, your risk of developing heat-related illnesses also increase. The most common heat disorders are:

Heat Exhaustion - Although it is generally not life-threatening, heat exhaustion can strike anyone who is physically active in a hot environment.

Symptoms include:

    Sweating
    Nausea
    Dizziness
    Cold, pale, clammy skin
    Fatigue
    Weakness
Victims should:
    Get to a cool area immediately
    Loosen clothing
    Lie down
    Elevate the feet
    Drink fluids
    Apply cool compresses
If symptoms persist, seek medical attention quickly.

Heatstroke is a more dangerous condition. Victims can lose consciousness or develop problems with the circulatory system, possibly resulting in stroke or heart failure. Obviously, those who already have heart or circulatory problems are at an even greater risk.

Symptoms include:

    Raised body temperature
    Rapid pulse
    Unconsciousness
    Dry, red skin that is hot to the touch
Victims need medical attention immediately. While waiting for help:
    Get the victim to a cool area
    Do whatever you can to lower the body temperature (Use cool compresses or even run a hose on the victim)

Prevention Techniques

You can reduce your risk of heat related illnesses by following these guidelines:

  1. Replace fluids - Water is the best thing to drink
  2. Dress properly - Your job may dictate what you wear, but keep in mind that lightweight and loose are the way to go whenever possible
  3. Eat right - Avoid big, hot meals
  4. Watch your salt intake - Your body loses a lot of salt through perspiration, but do not take salt tablets unless you've checked with your doctor.
  5. Acclimatize - When possible, get used to the heat in small doses

EHSC Home
NCSU Home 
Page