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Prevention of heat stress

  • July 08, 2017
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Heat and humidity are the biggest threats for our health during the summer season. Heat stress occurs when our body is not able to control the internal temperature. Heat stress presents itself in three ways: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and the most dangerous the heat stroke. Workers who work outdoor or in hot environments like farming, boiler rooms, mining, firefighting, factory workers are at a greater risk of heat illness. It is the obligation of the employers to prevent their employees from falling prey to heat stress. Some of the ways through which both the employers and employees can prevent or manage heat stress are mentioned below:

  •   Using air conditioners, fans and proper ventilation to cool down the work area as well as increasing the air circulation.
  • Modifying work schedules and arranging regular rest breaks in a shaded or air-conditioned area.
  • Establishing a complete heat illness prevention program and giving an insight to all the workers about heat stress, its symptoms and management 
  • Employers should acclimatize new workers by making schedule with no more than 20% of usual work for first few days.
  • Having easy access to adequate amount of drinking water and avoiding diuretics like coffee, tea, alcohol or soda as they deplete the body fluids.
  • The workers should wear loose fit, light-weight and light colored clothing and avoid sunburn by using a hat, umbrella and sunscreen.

In case heat stress occurs, manage it by following steps:

Ø  Stopping any physical activity and relaxing in a cool place

Ø  Drinking plenty of fluids rich in electrolytes

Ø  Using cool compress to decrease temperature

Ø  Removing excessive clothing, wetting and fanning the skin continuously

Developed by Scientific Angle brought to you by Health Meter Services

Disclaimer: Don’t follow any suggestions in this article without consulting a qualified doctor

Sources:

1. OSHA. “Protecting Workers from Heat Stress.” https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3154.pdf. 

2.“Heat Stress.” https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/recommendations.html.

3. “Preventing heat stress at work.”  http://safetyandhealth.ufcw.org/committeeguide/heat/heatstress/.

4. Dan Linder. “Cool Down: Preventing Workplace Heat Stress.” http://ehstoday.com/health/cool-down-preventing-workplace-heat-stress.