ToolBox Talk Heat Stress
Workmen who are working in hot work environment or exposed to extreme heat may be at risk of heat stress. Body becomes dehydrated because of too much lose of water through excessive sweating by doing heavy work or working under hot and humid environment. Heat can also increase the risk of injuries in workers as it may result in sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, and dizziness. Burns may also occur as a result of accidental contact with hot surfaces or steam. Exposure to extreme heat can result in occupational illnesses and injuries.
because of this, body may have heat related illness such as;
Let’s take a look at two serious heat illnesses:
1. Heat Exhaustion
It is body’s response to an excessive loss of the water and salt because of excessive sweating. Heat Exhaustion affects more to elder, having high blood pressure, and those who are working in hot environment. It takes 30 minutes at least to cool the body down from heat exhaustion. If it’s not treated quickly, it can lead to heat stroke.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Difficulty in continuing work.
- Heavy sweating.
- Extreme weakness or fatigue.
- Dizziness, confusion.
- Clammy, moist skin.
- Muscle cramps.
- Rise body temperature.
- Take rest in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area.
- Drink plenty of water or other cool, non-alcoholic beverages.
- Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
2. Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related disorder. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails. Your body has used up all its water and salt and cannot cool itself. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
- Hot, dry skin.
- No sweating.
- Irrational behavior.
- Throbbing headache.
- High body temperature.
- Convulsions or loss of consciousness.
- Slurred speech
First Aid for Heat Stroke
- Call the local emergency number or get the worker to a hospital.
- Move affected workmen to a cool shaded area.
- Cool the worker using methods by Soaking his/her clothes with water, Spraying, sponging, or showering them with water. Wrap him in a cool, wet cloth and air continuously his/her body.
- If the worker is unconscious, don’t give him/her anything to drink.
Control Measures to prevent Heat Stress
Following control measures may plays an important role to prevent heat stress/heat related illness/heat related injuries.
- Workers should avoid exposure to extreme heat, sun exposure, and high humidity when possible. Schedule heavy work during the coolest parts of day.
- Gradually build up to heavy work.
- Wear light, loose clothing and use PPE that allows sweat to evaporate. Light-coloured garments absorb less heat from the sun. wear breathable clothing such as cotton. Avoid non-breathing synthetic clothing.
- Be aware that protective clothing or personal protective equipment may increase the risk of heat stress.
- Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity. Take breaks in the shade or a cool area whenever it is possible.
- Drink water frequently. Drink enough water that helps to make body hydrated.
- Avoid coffee, tea, beer, alcohol, drinks with caffeine, large amount of sugar or carbonated soft drinks that can make you go to the bathroom.
- Avoid eating hot, heavy meals that can increase your body temperature.
- Be alert to any symptoms of heat stress in body and surrounding co-workers.
- Remember that physical condition of body can reduce it`s ability to deal with heat. Age, weight, fitness level, health conditions (e.g., heart disease or high blood pressure), recent illness, or medications can all affect ability to withstand high temperatures.
- Training to be imparted to workmen so they understand what heat stress is, how it affects their health and safety, and how it can be prevented.
- Prepare SOP, Safe work procedures, Work methods which can helpful in prevention of heat stress/heat related illness/heat related injuries. SOP/Safe work procedures/work methods are very useful in implementation of control measures effectively.