Heat Stress

By John Howell

When the body is unable to cool off by sweating, heat-induced illnesses, such as heat rash, cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke can occur. These illnesses can be serious, sometimes even resulting in death.

Factors Leading to Heat Stress
The following are common factors that can all contribute to heat stress:

· High temperature and humidity
· Direct sun or heat
· Limited air movement
· Physical exertion
· Poor physical condition
· Some medications
· A lack of tolerance for hot workplaces or areas

Heat Stress Prevention
Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, and monitor yourself and your co-workers.

· Block or avoid direct sunlight or other heat sources.
· Take regular breaks in shaded areas.
· Drink plenty of water or high-electrolyte fluids.
· Wear lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing.
· Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and heavy meals.
· If you detect signs of heat exhaustion, notify a supervisor or appropriate individual with first aid training.

Heat Rash

Symptoms: Cluster of small red pimples or blisters

Causes: Excessive sweating, which leads to clogged pores and, if untreated, to infection

First aid: Cleanse and dry the affected area, and use calamine lotion or powder to increase comfort.

Heat Cramps

Symptoms: Painful spasms of leg, arm, or abdominal muscles, heavy sweating, and thirst

Causes: Electrolyte deficiencies during or after strenuous physical activity, due to extended periods of intense sweating

First aid: The affected individual must stop all activity, sit in a cool place, drink plenty of water or high-electrolyte fluids, and wait for a few hours after the cramps have subsided before engaging in any strenuous physical activities.

Heat Exhaustion

Symptoms: Fatigue, profuse sweating, weak and rapid heartbeat, headaches, nausea, confusion, loss of coordination, muscle weakness, dizziness, or fainting

Causes: Dehydration, lack of acclimatization to high temperatures, strain on the circulatory system, and reduced blood flow to the brain

First aid: The affected individual must rest in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area. First aid includes cooling the affected individual by fanning, misting with water, or applying ice packs. Give cool (not cold) water only if the individual is conscious.

Heat Stroke

Symptoms: Core body temperature exceeding 104° F, hot skin with a lack of perspiration, strong and rapid pulse, nausea, confusion, dizziness, seizures or convulsions, or fainting

Causes: Heat exhaustion was left untreated and the body’s cooling mechanisms have been exhausted

First aid: Heat stroke is immediately life-threatening. Notify a supervisor and follow the emergency action procedure. While waiting for medical personnel to arrive, the individual giving care should take the following measures:

· Move the affected person to a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area.
· Give cool (not cold) water only if the individual is conscious.
· Cool the individual by fanning, misting with water, or applying ice packs. · If necessary, loosen or remove heavy clothing.

Remember that most heat-related illnesses can be prevented by taking appropriate precautions.

NOTE: Always promote a discussion on any of the topics covered in the Tool Box Talks. Should any question arise that you cannot answer, don’t hesitate to contact your Employer.

Shepformation... The Shepley Newletter

  • Civic Rent: Beer for a Good Cause

    Where to Buy Civic Rent is a limited edition lager

    Read More
  • COVID-19 Response & Updates

    At Shepley, nothing is more important to us than t

    Read More
  • Market Update 2020

    2020 has been full of uncertainty and a real chall

    Read More
  • Table Saws

    John Howell Table saws are common and heavily used

    Read More

Newsletter Sign Up

Central Location:

Hyannis Office

216 Thornton Drive, Hyannis, MA 02601
Phone: 508-862-6200
Toll-free: 800-227-7969
Facsimile: 508-862-6012

Shepley Showcase

75 Ben Franklin Way, Hyannis, MA 02601
Phone: 508-862-6228
Toll-free: 877-909-7227
Facsimile: 508-862-6047

Nantucket Office

6 Lovers Lane, Nantucket, MA 02554
Phone: 508-325-0400
Facsimile: 508-325-0359

Wellfleet Office

2238 Route 6, Wellfleet, MA 02667
Phone: 508-349-2280
Facsimile: 508-349-3078