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Prevent Heat Illness at Work

By June 10, 2022October 27th, 2022No Comments

If you’ve stepped outside your house this week, you have noticed the extreme heat and humidity we are experiencing in East Tennessee. For employees, outdoor heat exposure can be dangerous. Here are some ways to protect yourself.

First, ease into work. If you are a new or returning worker, work no more than 20% of the shift’s duration at full intensity in the heat. Increase the duration of time at full intensity by no more than 20% a day until you are used to working in the heat.

Be cool. Drink cool water every 20 minutes—even if you aren’t thirsty. Take breaks in a shady or cool location.  Don’t forget to dress cool, too. Wear a hat and light-colored, loose-fitting, and breathable clothing.

The signs of heat illness can be abnormal thinking or behavior, slurred speech, seizures, or loss of consciousness. If someone exhibits these symptoms, call 911 immediately, cool the worker right away with water or ice, and stay with the worker until help arrives.

Anyone is susceptible to a heat-related illness, but the very young and elderly are at the greatest risk. Take these precautions to heart to keep yourself and your employees safe.