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heat illness

Keeping Your Workplace Safe: Heat Illness

One of the major work dangers is heat illness. Though more common in the summer months, it can be a problem throughout the year. Read on for a few tips on what to look out for and how to prevent heat illness.


The overarching cause of heat illness is unpreparedness. One must always be prepared for the conditions of their work environment. If working outside, it is important to always come prepared with sun protection and something to hydrate yourself with. If you are working inside in extremely hot conditions, you can fall ill if not dressed or hydrated properly. Oftentimes, heat illness strikes with heavy physical labor. Your body gives you signs when you need a break from the current conditions—do not ignore these signs! Not finding a way to cool down when your body is alerting you can bring no heat illness.


There is a multitude of symptoms that can point to heat illness. Many experience a headache or nausea. They will feel weak or dizzy in addition to this. Someone experiencing heat illness will either sweat heavily or experience the opposite—hot, dry skin. Either way, their body temperature will be elevated, and they will experience thirst and decreased urine output. In more extreme situations, the individual could have slurred speech, seizures, loss of consciousness, and abnormal thinking/behavior.


There are a plethora of ways to prevent heat illness. Some key ways are hydration, sun protection, and listening to your body. Wear breathable clothing and a hat to protect yourself from direct sunlight. Keep hydrated with cool water, even if you do not feel thirsty. Check on your coworkers and make sure you are taking breaks in the shade when possible. If starting a new job, make sure you are acclimated to the environment before you go in headfirst. It takes time to acclimate to the heat and physical working conditions.

Watch out this summer! Protect yourself, look out for others, and when in doubt, take the safe route. Stay cool!

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