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Safety Tips | Heat stress

Protecting workers from the heat

July 1, 2010

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Working in a hot environment can present a number of hazards to workers far beyond simple discomfort. Those working outdoors in the summer – or working indoors in hot environments such as bakeries, laundries and manufacturing plants – can be at risk of a number of heat-induced disorders. Workers who are in poor health or unaccustomed to working in the heat are most highly susceptible.

To prevent heat-related illnesses, California OSHA offers the following tips:

  • Drink cool, fresh water throughout the day, averaging about 24 ounces per hour. Do not wait until you feel thirsty to drink.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or other beverages with high levels of sugar or caffeine.
  • Know how to call for help throughout the day if needed. Keep an eye on your co-workers, watching for signs of heat illnesses.
  • If you feel yourself beginning to overheat, tell your supervisor. Rehydrate and go indoors, or find a cool, shaded area to rest.

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