These heat waves may last only a week or two, but in this time, workers can suffer debilitating effects and in worst cases even death. A few simple steps taken now can keep your people thriving and productive even in the hottest weather.
“Based on the internal responsibility, everyone has a role to play,”
“Employers, supervisors and workers all can make a difference in their workplaces.”
What is Heat Stress?
Working or playing where it is hot puts stress on your body’s cooling system. When heat is combined with other stresses such as hard physical work, loss of fluids, fatigue or some pre-existing medical conditions, it may lead to heat-related illness, disability and even death.
Heat exposure may occur in many workplaces. Significant sources of heat can be found in workplaces such as foundries, smelters, chemical plants, bakeries and commercial kitchens. For outdoor workers, direct sunlight is usually the main source of heat. In mines, especially deep mines, geothermal gradients and equipment contribute to heat exposure. Humidity in workplaces also contributes to heat stress.
How do we cope with heat?
Your body is always generating heat and passing it into the environment. The harder your body works, the more heat it has to lose. When the environment is hot and/or humid or has a source of radiant heat (such as a furnace or the sun), your body must work harder to get rid of heat.
If the air is moving (for example, by fans) and it is cooler than your body, it is easier for your body to pass heat into the environment.
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