How Heat Stroke Happens at Work
Heat stroke is a serious health problem for workers and employers. In fact, it can be fatal to a worker if not treated properly. Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises above 104°F (40°C) and the body’s heat-regulating system breaks down causing damage to internal organs and tissues. It can be caused by working in high temperatures or being exposed to hot environments for long periods of time.
Signs of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a serious condition that can happen to you or your employees at work. It’s important to know how heat stroke happens, and how to prevent it.
Be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and take steps to prevent it from happening.
The signs of heat stroke include:
- nausea or vomiting
- muscle cramps (usually in the legs)
If you or your employees experience any of these symptoms, immediately take them out of the heat, call 911, and move them into a cool place.
You should check their temperature by placing your hand on the person’s forehead or other parts of the body where you can feel their pulse. If the temperature feels higher than normal, they may have heat stroke.
Look for signs like confusion or disorientation; dizziness; weakness; sudden collapse; rapid heartbeat (tachycardia); rapid breathing (hyperventilation); nausea and vomiting; headache; flushed skin with goose bumps (piloerection); clammy skin; feeling hot even though they’re sweating profusely; fast breathing that makes them cough repeatedly because they’re having trouble getting enough oxygen into their lungs; seizures or loss of consciousness.
Heat Stroke Prevention Tips on the Job
To prevent heat stroke, make sure you stay hydrated by drinking large amounts of water throughout the day and avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee and soda which can cause your body to lose more fluid than it takes in.
Stay hydrated—It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day and especially when you know it’ll be hot out (like during the summer). The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking about 16 ounces every two hours when exercising outside in the heat, but if you’re working indoors you should still make sure you’re getting enough liquids in order to stay well-hydrated throughout the day.
Keep an eye on your fellow workers—if someone seems to be suffering from heat exhaustion, get them out of the heat immediately and into a cool area with plenty of water to drink. If you don’t have access to water at work, keep a bottle with you at all times so that if someone needs help, you can provide them with some immediately.
Wear light-colored clothing—Dark clothes hold in more heat than lighter ones do, so try wearing white or light colors instead of darker ones when temperatures get high outside (or inside).cc