During the hot summer months, it’s crucial that workers and their employers consider the dangers of working in the heat. Every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in hot or humid conditions. To prevent heat illness, remember the essentials: Water, Rest, Shade.
Proper hydration is essential to prevent heat-related illness.
Workers should be encouraged to drink at least one cup (8 ounces) of water every 20 minutes while working in the heat.
Workers should be aware that use of certain personal protective equipment (e.g., certain types of respirators and impermeable clothing) can increase the risk of heat-related illness.
Workers should not rely on feeling thirsty to prompt them to drink.
When heat stress is high, workers should take breaks. The length and frequency of rest breaks should increase as heat stress rises.
Breaks should last long enough for workers to recover from the heat depending on the worker’s physical activity level, as well as the worker’s personal risk factors. The location of the breaks also matters. If workers rest in a cooler location, they will be ready to resume work more quickly.
In hot conditions skipping breaks is not safe!
Workers should take their breaks in a cool location where they can recover from the heat.
Outdoors, this might mean a shady area, an air-conditioned vehicle, a nearby building or tent, or an area with fans and misting devices.
Indoors, workers should rest in a cool or air-conditioned area away from heat sources such as ovens and furnaces.