Western First Aid & Safety Blog

Heat Stress Can be Deadly. Get the Facts.

Keeping your workers cool, hydrated and healthy in hot work environments is important for the growth and productivity of your company, and the health and happiness of your staff.  Here, Western First Aid takes a look at who is susceptible to heat stress, how to avoid the condition and what to do should heat related illnesses strike your workplace.

Who Can Get Heat Stress?

Heat does not affect everyone equally. Not all workers share the same susceptibility to heat stress. Some face a higher risk of suffering heat stroke or heat exhaustion, such as workers who are:
  • Over the age of 65
  • Overweight
  • Taking certain medications
  • Have compromised health or physical fitness
Where they work can have an effect, too. While most people tend to think of field workers and construction professionals as the most at risk, there are two other groups to consider:
  1. Any worker who is out in the open, under the heat of the sun
  2. Any worker who wears heavy uniforms or personal protective equipment (PPE)

So how do you know if someone has heat stress?

Most of us are taught to look for the absence of sweat as an indication of heat stroke, that’s not true in all cases. There are several signs and symptoms of heat stress that workers should be aware of to easily identify the possibility of developing a full blown heat stress.

The common signs and symptoms of heat stress include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Profuse sweating
  • Pale skin
  • Rapid heartbeat
Heat stroke is considered the most critical form of heat stress and can be fatal.

The symptoms associated with heat stroke include:

  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dry or hot skin
  • Profuse sweating
[caption id="attachment_27" align="alignnone" width="537"]If you're working in any type of heat, ask about our special kits that include cold compress, emergency drinking water, sunscreen and more. If you're working in any type of heat, ask about our special kits that include cold compress, emergency drinking water, sunscreen and more.[/caption]

If heat stroke is experienced, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Move the worker to a cooler area.
  • Place cold water or ice on their clothing.
  • Monitor the worker until medical assistance has arrived.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Dizziness
  • Thirst
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Elevated body temperature.

To treat heat exhaustion, the following is recommended:

  • Seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
  • Hydrate the worker with cool water.
  • Apply cold compresses to the face, neck and head.
Ideally, you can prevent heat stress altogether, but you can never know when or if symptoms will strike. So educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of heat stress. Be sure to share this important information with your co-workers and employees to ensure a safe, happy and healthy work environment. If you need supplies to keep your worker’s safe and cool in the workplace, ask your friends at Western First Aid and Safety.

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