Heat Stress Symptoms and Prevention

SKU: C-344Duration: 15 Minutes

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Course Details


Training Time: 15 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on:

  • • The General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health—Section 5(a)(1)
  • • Materials from OSHA and state labor agencies on heat exposure
  • • Current scientific and medical findings
  • • Accepted best work practices for preventing heat exposure

Languages: English, French, Spanish

Heat stress can take a number of different forms, including heat rash, heat cramps, heat syncope (fainting), heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Each of these conditions has its own signs, symptoms, and treatments. This course will help you to recognize each condition, and to know which ones require simple corrective actions, like taking a break, and which ones may require a trip to the hospital.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the forms of heat stress
  • Define the symptoms for each form of heat stress
  • Describe how to determine the risk of heat stress
  • List methods to reduce the risk of heat stress
  • Describe treatments for persons showing symptoms of heat stress

Key Questions

The following key questions are answered in this module:

What is heat rash?
Heat rash, also known as prickly heat, typically occurs when sweat is trapped against the skin and can't evaporate due to restrictive clothing. The parts of the body most commonly affected are the neck, upper chest, groin, and elbow creases. It is not considered a serious medical problem unless it covers a large area of the body and becomes infected.

What are heat cramps?
Heat cramps can occur during hard physical labor in a hot environment. Cramps are caused when heavy sweating leads to improper levels of sodium and electrolytes in the body.

What is heat syncope?
Heat syncope, also known as heat collapse, occurs when blood pools in the body's extremities leaving the brain with little oxygen. It typically happens when a person rises from a sitting or lying position and can be increased by dehydration.

What is heat exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body's core temperature rises above 100.4 °F. This is usually caused by a combination of high temperatures and dehydration from heavy sweating.

What is heat stroke?
Heat stroke is the most dangerous heat-related medical condition. It occurs when the body can no longer control its internal temperature. The body's temperature may rise to 104 °F or higher in a matter of minutes, causing a full medical emergency. Any person suffering heat stroke needs immediate emergency help.

What are some engineering controls that can be used to reduce the risk of heat stress?
Ventilation, air cooling, shielding, insulation, hydration, and proper clothing.

What are some administrative controls that can be used to reduce the risk of heat stress?
Scheduling, acclimitization, and training.

What type of training should employees receive?
Provide training to all employees so they know the causes, symptoms, and prevention techniques for all forms of heat stress.

Sample Video Transcript

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

To treat heat exhaustion, act immediately to prevent heat stroke from occurring. Stop working and move to a cooler place. Drink fluids like water or a sports beverage. Take a cool shower or bath. And rest for a few hours.

Additional Resources

Use the additional resources and links below to learn more about this topic:

  • U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) – www.osha.gov
  • OSHA Safety and Health Topics - https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/index.html
  • OSHA Training Publications Quick Card - https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3154.pdf
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) – www.cdc.gov/niosh/
  • NIOSH Workplace Safety & Health Topics - http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/
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