Heat Related Illnesses and First Aid | Shepley Wood Products
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Heat Related Illnesses and First Aid

Several heat-related illnesses can affect workers. Some of the symptoms are non-specific. This means that when a worker is performing physical labor in a warm environment, any unusual symptom can be a sign of overheating.


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Heavy sweating or hot, dry skin

Very high body temperature

Rapid heart rate




Nausea or vomiting

Dizziness or lightheadedness

Heavy sweating

Elevated body temperature or fast heart rate

Muscle spasms or pain

Usually in legs, arms or trunk

Employers and workers should become familiar with the heat symptoms. When any of these symptoms is present, promptly provide first aid. Do not try to diagnose which illness is occurring. Diagnosis is often difficult because symptoms of multiple heat-related illnesses can occur together. Time is of the essence. These conditions can worsen quickly and result in fatalities.

First Aid for Heat-related Illness

· Take the affected worker to a cooler area (e.g., shade or air conditioning).

· Cool the worker immediately. Use active cooling techniques such as:

· Immerse the worker in cold water or an ice bath. Create the ice bath by placing all of the available ice into a large container with water, standard practice in sports. This is the best method to cool workers rapidly in an emergency.

· Remove outer layers of clothing, especially heavy protective clothing.

· Place ice or cold wet towels on the head, neck, trunk, armpits, and groin.

· Use fans to circulate air around the worker.

· Never leave a worker with heat-related illness alone.

· The illness can rapidly become worse. Stay with the worker.

When in doubt, call 911!

*Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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