Several heat-related illnesses and deaths occur each year due to extreme heat exposure on the job. Heat stress such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, cramps and heat rash can be prevented by taking the proper precautions in extreme heat conditions.
1. Stay hydrated. Aim to drink at least one cup of water every 15-20 minutes that you are working in the heat. Avoid drinks with high caffeine or sugar, which can lead to dehydration.
2. Acclimate yourself. Gradually increase work time in hot conditions over a span of 7-14 days to acclimate yourself to increased exposure to hot environments.
3. Wear sunscreen. When working outside, apply sunscreen at several intervals throughout the day. Sunburn reduces the skin's ability to release excess heat, making you more susceptible to heat-related stress.
4. Rest. Take adequate breaks to allow your body to cool down and rehydrate.
5. Be aware. Stay cognizant of how your body feels and alert a supervisor or co-worker if beginning to feel light-headed or ill. In addition, watch out for fellow co-workers who may be exhibiting signs of heat stress.
For more information and tips for staying safe in the summer heat, visit www.osha.gov/heat.