Summer heat can be brutal, but no matter how hot temperatures rise, your team still has to work. Extra precautions should always be made to keep employees safe in the heat, but your best efforts might not be enough to keep some people from getting sick.

There’s plenty of OSHA rules and regulations surrounding heat exhaustion, so make sure everyone on your team is familiar with what to do in the event of an emergency.

Identifying Heat Exhaustion

OSHA lists the following symptoms as signs a person might be suffering from heat exhaustion:

  • Cool, moist skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Light headedness
  • Weakness
  • Thirst
  • Irritability
  • Fast heart beat

Helping an Employee With Heat Exhaustion

Spring into action immediately if you even suspect a worker is suffering from heat exhaustion. OSHA recommends taking the following measures to assist:

  • Guide the person to a cool, shaded area where they can sit or lie down.
  • Provide them with ample cool water and other cold drinks to rehydrate.
  • Give them ice packs or cold compresses to help lower their body temperature.
  • Require them to take the rest of the day off work.
  • Seek medical attention if their condition worsens or if they don’t start to feel better within an hour.

Other Forms of Heat Illness

Heat exhaustion is a common side effect of working outdoors when temperatures are high, but it’s not the only form of heat illness. Other ailments include heat stroke, heat cramps and heat rash.

It probably goes without saying that heat stroke is the most serious form of heat illness. Side effects of this condition include confusion, fainting, seizures, excessive sweating or very red skin and a very high body temperature. Call 911 immediately if you even suspect a worker is having a heat stroke.

Muscle spasms and pain — typically in the abdomen, arms or legs — typically accompanies heat cramps. Employees suffering from this condition should rest in a cool, shaded area, drink plenty of cool beverages and take a few hours off from strenuous work. Medical attention should be sought if the cramps persist.

If employee complains of clusters of red bumps on their skin — likely on the neck or upper chest — they might have a heat rash. This can be treated by working in a cooler environment and keeping the rash area dry.

Premium Staffing, Inc. is here to connect employers who take OSHA standards seriously with high-level engineering and manufacturing professionals who place the same emphasis on safety. Contact us today to find the right fit for your team!

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