Volume 1, Number 16
The body is designed to maintain an internal temperature of approximately 98.6°F. Excessive heat is released by circulating blood to the capillaries in the upper layers of the skin thus increasing heat transfer and perspiration. When the body heats up faster than it can cool itself down, mild to severe heat-related illnesses may develop. Because hundreds of people die annually in this country from heat-related illnesses, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and understand how to prevent, control, and respond to its effects.
The following warning signs are what to watch for and how to respond as the body temperature rises:
How heat-related illnesses be prevented:
California is the first state to enact a heat-illness prevention standard, GISO §3395. The text of the standard can be found at www.dir.ca.gov/title8/3395.html. The regulation requires employers to provide water, shade, and training on heat stress to all outdoor workers, including supervisors. Although Fed/OSHA does not have a heat-illness prevention regulation, there are guidelines called Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) developed by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). Although not enforceable by any regulatory agency, TLVs consider environmental measurements, the different types of personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by the employees, the workload, and acclimatization in order to prescribe a work/rest regimen.
To obtain a free copy of Fed/OSHA’s "Heat Stress Card", go to www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3154.pdf for the English version or www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3155.pdf for the Spanish version, or call (800) 321-6742.
The information herein is for reference only and State Fund does not warranty its accuracy or fitness for a particular purpose. Any products, references, or links to Web sites are not an endorsement by State Fund or its employees, but serve only as examples to assist you with your workplace design changes. State Fund cannot be held liable or accountable for content on linked Web sites.