Although July historically tends to be the hottest month of the year in the United States, August — and sometimes even September — often comes a close second.
A Health Hazard Evaluation Report recently released from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is raising awareness among workers who must brave extreme heat on the job. The report, which is based on an evaluation of heat stress at a national park, provides recommendations that can be applied to other work sites, including construction-related jobs, where extreme heat may be a factor.
Working in hot environments and/or prolonged exertion can raise the body’s temperature, resulting in heat stress that may lead to heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rashes, and heat stroke. According to the report, heat stroke is the most severe form of heat-related illness and can be fatal if not quickly treated. The symptoms of heat stroke include a change in mental status that can range from confusion or bizarre behavior to seizures or loss of consciousness.
Although avoiding exposure to extreme heat, sun exposure, and high humidity altogether is preferable, when this is not possible, workers should take the following steps (shown in the slides at right) to prevent heat-related illness and fatalities.
For more additional information, review Heat Stress Section on the NIOSH website.
Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Opening photo: Tilmann von Au/iStock/Thinkstock
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