Managing the Risk of Heat Stroke

When working in an environment with hot temperatures, high humidity or prolonged exposure to the sun, the risk for heat illness rises. It’s important to understand how to keep yourself as safe as possible in these conditions.

Heatstroke

The most dangerous type of heat illness is heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when your body is no longer capable of controlling its temperature. During heatstroke, your body temperature can rise to 41C in as little as 10 minutes.

Symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • Body temperature over 39C
  • Hot, dry, damp or red skin
  • Strong, rapid pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Passing out
  • Lack of sweating

Heatstroke can result in death or permanent disability if treatment is not provided in a timely manner.

If you notice that a co-worker may be suffering from heatstroke, take the following steps:

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Move your co-worker to a cooler location.
  • Do not give your co-worker anything to drink.
  • Try to lower your co-worker’s body temperature with cool cloths.

Stay Cool

In order to prevent heat illness, follow these tips:

  • Stay hydrated—Drink water frequently, and avoid alcohol, coffee and fizzy drinks.
  • Dress light—Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured and lightweight clothing.
  • Pace yourself—Take your time, and avoid overexerting yourself.
  • Know the signs—Be aware of heatstroke symptoms, and look out for both yourself and your co-workers.

If you have any questions about working safely in extreme heat and humidity, talk to your supervisor.

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