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MSHA issues alert on heat stress

Photo: Xurzon/iStockphoto

Arlington, VA — The Mine Safety and Health Administration is reminding mine operators of best practices for preventing heat stress and treating workers who become overheated.

In a recently published safety alert, MSHA says signs of heat stress include hot – and often dry, red or spotted – skin. The victim may be confused, have a pale or flushed face, and experience muscle cramps from a loss of sodium.

To help prevent heat stress:

  • Provide cool drinking water near miners, and encourage them to drink a cup of water every 15-20 minutes.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine and large amounts of sugar.
  • Use sunblockers and proper protective clothing.
  • Set up shaded areas for workers to take a break.
  • Rotate miners on hot jobs and schedule physically demanding tasks during cooler times.

When treating symptoms, remove the miner from the hot area and apply cool, wet cloths to aid in recovery. Don’t apply ice directly to the skin or allow the miner to become cold enough for shivering.

Give the miner water if they’re awake. If no improvement occurs, seek medical attention.

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