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Heat Stress-RISF Back to Course Index

Heat Stress

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Heat Related Illnesses

Heat Crampsimgres

Heat Exhaustion 

Heat Stroke


Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are caused by the lack of hydration and electrolytes in the body.


  • Dry Mouth
  • Painful Intermittent Spasmsimgres-1
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Heavy Sweating
  • Cramps


Heat Exhaustion

 Heat Exhaustion is also caused by the lack of hydration/ electrolytes, and an increase of body temperature.


  • Heavy sweating
  • Nauseaimages
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Fast pulse


Heat Cramps/ Heat Exhaustion



  • Move affected person to a cool shaded
  • Give water and sports drink to replace fluids.(4:1 ratio)
  • Discontinue work until the affected person has fully recovered.

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Heat Stroke 

Heat stroke is caused by severe dehydration and extremely high body temperatures.


  • Absence of Perspiration
  • High temperatureimages
  • Dry/ Red Skin
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness/Confusion

*Medical Care is urgently needed


Treatment of Heat Stroke

  • Call 911
  • Move the victim to a cool shadedimgres-2
  • Remove clothing, and begin actively cooling the body by applying cool packs/ wet towels to neck, armpits, &
  • Give cool fluids only if Sips Only
  • Follow up with a medical examination.


Preventing Heat Stress- Do’s


  • Hydration– While working in the heat, drink at least 16 ounces of water per
  • Electrolytes– Important minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium) in the body that regulate muscle cell function. Beverages (Gatorade, Sqwincher,.etc) help restore electrolyte balance and alleviate symptoms of an imbalance
  • Dress for the weather- Wear light-weight, light-colored, breathable clothing and head protection to protect from the sun
  • Eat right– Eat foods high in water content (fruits, vegetables). Eat foods high in mineral content (nuts, broths, cereals).
  • Rest & Shade– Take plenty of breaks in cool, shady areas when working in high


Preventing Heat Stress- Don’ts

  • Avoid exercise- Workers who are overweight or are not acclimated to the heat are more likely to exhibit heat stress
  • Caffeine- Types of caffeine include chocolate, coffee, soft drinks and energy drinks. Cause the body to remove essential
  • Alcohol- Consumption before or during work will quickly dehydrate the
  • Eat too much- Avoid spicy, high fat, diuretic foods.  Limit portion sizes to avoid dehydration.


Energy Drinks


Energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine which could lead to dehydration and some even contain alcohol.


Hydration Guide


To remain healthy you must also replace lost electrolytes; drink at least 1 glass of Gatorade or equivalent high carb drink with each meal and eat complete meals with a variety of foods.

Heat Index


OSHA Heat Stress Phone App

When you’re working in the heat, safety comes first. With the OSHA Heat Safety Tool, you have vital safety information available whenever and wherever you need itimgres-1– right on your mobile phone.

The App allows workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their worksite, and, based on the heat index, displays a risk level to outdoor workers. Then, with a simple “click,” you can get reminders about the protective measures that should be taken at that risk level to protect workers from heat-related illness- reminders about drinking enough fluids, scheduling rest breaks, planning for and knowing what to do in an emergency, adjusting work operations, gradually building up the workload for new workers, training on heat illness signs and symptoms, and monitoring each other for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.

The OSHA Heat Tool is available in Spanish for Android and iPhone devices. To access the Spanish version on the iPhone, set the phone language setting to Spanish before downloading the app.

Stay informed and safe in the heat, check your risk level.


Heat Stress Management 

The management of heat stress is a shared responsibility between supervisors and employees.

During times of extreme heat, employees need to be aware of their own heat tolerance and monitor the conditions of their co-workers. If you notice any employee showing signs or symptoms of heat stress, assist the co-worker and immediately notify their supervisor.   






Heat illness can be prevented!


Handling the Heat

Heat kills more workers in the USA than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and lightning combined. According the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) unusually hot summer temperatures have become more frequent, and the risk of heat-related illness or death is expected to increase. This is of particular concern for outdoor workers in southern states.

Excessive exposure to heat can cause a range of illnesses, from heat rash and cramps to exhaustion and heat stroke and contributes to injuries due to dizziness, sweaty palms, fogged glasses and dehydration. A heat index of 91 degrees Fahrenheit is considered moderate exposure, with heat indexes of 103 degrees or more defined by OSHA as “High Risk” and requiring additional precautions to protect workers. In the South, these temperatures are not infrequent and require daily management.

  • Adjust working hours to avoid peak heatimgres-4
  • Add rest and hydration breaks
  • Use electrolyte technology (powder mixes or pre-mixed)
  • Maintain cooler areas for rest periods (shade with air movement)
  • Provide an acclimation period for new workers (shorter working hours up to full shifts)
  • Attire should be light-colored, loose fitting and breathable fabric


Understand higher risk factors:

  • 65 years of age or greater
  • Overweight
  • Heart disease or high blood pressure

Know the symptoms of heat stress and how to help

Symptoms of heat stress include: hot, dry skin or profuse sweating; hallucinations; chills; muscle cramps or headache; increased body temperature; confusion; dizziness; slurred speech, weakness; nausea; and fast, shallow breathing. If symptoms are noted, stop all activity and move the worker to a cooler place. Have the worker drink water or sports beverage, and provide cool water to shower or wet clothing. For severe symptoms, call emergency services (911) and notify the supervisor.

For additional consultation, contact PEMCO’s safety specialists at