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Smoke signals are passé, newspapers are for packing glassware, and landlines are as popular as phone booths now. To get the skinny on safety, you gotta read The Tenacious Blog for the latest news and info on industry topics, trends, regulations, and more.

2 May 17

Recognizing Common Heat-Related Illnesses – ToolBox Talks



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Heat Stress Tool Box Talks Intro

When heat is a hazard, heat-related illnesses (HRIs) may develop. HRIs come in many forms but are entirely preventable once their signs and symptoms are known.

A few of the most common heat-related illnesses include:

Heat Rash:

Clogged sweat ducts under the skin can cause heat rash, which manifests itself as red, blister-like eruptions or itchy bumps.

  • Prevention: Shower after working in a hot environment and keep the skin dry.
  • Treatment: Dry skin off, rest in a shaded area, and rehydrate.

Heat Cramps:

Rapid sweat loss when a person is sweating profusely that can lead to painful spasms, usually in the legs or abdomen, known as heat cramps.

  • Prevention: If possible, avoid working during the warmest part of the day, drink plenty of fluids, and take frequent breaks in the shade.
  • Treatment: Rest in a cool or shaded area, do some light, static stretching (no bouncing or straining), and drink a sports drink (which has beneficial salt and electrolytes) to replace lost nutrients.

Heat Exhaustion:

Usually occurs over the course of a few days and can include headaches, weakness, mood changes, nausea, extreme sweating, and clammy skin.

  • Prevention: Acclimatize to hot work environments and drink water.
  • Treatment: Move to a shaded area and elevate the legs above the heart, cool the skin, and re-hydrate. Remove excess clothing and equipment to allow sweat to evaporate from the skin and re-hydrate.

Heat Stroke:

The most severe HRI, signs of heat stroke can include pale skin, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and a fever of at least 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Prevention: Acclimatize to hot work environments and drink water.
  • Treatment: Heat stroke should be considered a medical emergency. Body temperature must be lowered below 102 degrees within 30 minutes of collapse. Fluid replacement via IV may be necessary and the worker should get to a healthcare facility immediately. Douse in cold water or place wet towels over the entire body. NOTE: Medical professionals should always supervise submergence into a tub of water.

When the heat rises at your workplace, be aware of these HRI symptoms in yourself and others. Often, a quick response can help avert a tragedy.

Toolbox Talks - Heat Stress