Written by: NES, Inc. Staff
Being aware of effective heat illness prevention methods can be critical when working in hot environments.
Know How to Beat the Heat
Those who do not know the safety measures that should be employed to beat the heat may find themselves beaten by it. Heat illness is a serious medical condition resulting from the body’s inability to cope with heat exposure. When this happens, heat cramps, heat rash, heat exhaustion, and, in the most extreme cases, heat stroke can occur. Knowing how to beat the heat on and off the job can help to lessen your chances of experiencing heat illness. The best way to stay cool is by utilizing the following three areas of control:
Engineering controls are the first line of defense against heat stress. Here are some common areas to focus on:
- Air cooling (air conditioner, swamp cooler)
- Cooling fans
- Insulation (insulating heat surface)
- Shielding (shade)
Administrative controls are the next line of defense against extreme heat conditions. The proper training and a complete heat illness prevention program are essential to beating the heat. Make sure to implement the following:
- Training (ability to recognize heat illness and prevention)
- Scheduling (schedule hot jobs in the cooler part of the day)
- Shorter work shifts
- Frequent breaks (to be taken in the shade)
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal protective equipment can protect from workplace hazards, but it can also create a heat hazard of its own, dramatically exacerbating high heat conditions to a critical level. Here are some options to help lessen those effects:
- Reflective clothing (can stop skin from absorbing heat)
- Body cooling (ice vest, wet clothing)
- Hats (wide brim hats to reflect heat)
- Sun screen
The following infographic covers a few safety measures to keep in mind when working or playing in the heat. Remain cool with these tips:
The above safety measures help to beat the heat. Check out the NES Heat Illness Fact Sheet here.
Need Heat Illness Prevention Training?
NES offers a convenient online class here. With the proper training and heat illness prevention program, you and your colleagues can effectively beat the heat.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Webpage: Occupational Heat Exposure