Guides to avoid heat illness

AS the mercury rises, so to does the risk of heat-related illness. Here are some guides to stay cool.

RESOURCES Safety is regularly contacted, particularly over the summer months, regarding posters and other resource material on sun safety, heat-related illnesses and urine charts for monitoring hydration levels.

“Although we do not have such material ourselves, the internet has a wealth of publicly available material that may be helpful for companies to either use directly or modify for their own purposes,” Resources safety said.

Some of these are listed below.

Note that some of the sites are North American and, therefore, care should be taken with some units, such as temperature, and emergency phone numbers. Some material is copyright and there may be restrictions on how it may be used or distributed.

Heat-related illnesses

The American National Red Cross

www.redcross.org/services/hss/tips/heat.html

Normally, the body keeps itself cool by letting heat escape through the skin or by evaporating sweat (perspiration).

When these mechanisms are faulty or insufficient, the person may suffer a heat-related illness, which can become serious or even deadly if unattended. This webpage has information on: preventing heat-related illness; know what heat-related terms mean; stages of heat-related illness; and general care for heat emergencies.

Heat cramps

eMedicine Health Heat cramps

www.emedicinehealth.com/heat_cramps/article_em.htm

To quote this webpage, heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps that occur during exercise or work in a hot environment. Muscles may spasm or jerk involuntarily. Cramping may also be delayed and occur a few hours later.

Heat cramps usually involve the muscles fatigued by heavy work such as calves, thighs, abdomen, and shoulders.

You are most at risk doing work or activities in a hot environment—usually during the first few days of an activity you’re not used to. You are also at risk if you sweat a great deal during exercise and don’t drink enough or drink large amounts of fluids that lack salt.

This webpage covers: heat cramps causes; heat cramps symptoms; when to seek medical care; heat cramps treatment; self—care at home; next steps; prevention; and outlook.

Heat stress

Construction Safety Association of Ontario

www.csao.org/t.tools/t6.news/heat_stress.cfm

Members of the Occupational Health and Safety Council of Ontario have developed a Heat Stress Awareness Guide, Heat Stress Awareness Tool and heat stress poster to provide information and advice on managing and controlling heat stress in the workplace.

The Heat Stress Awareness Guide helps employers and workers learn how to prevent heat stress.

The guide: summarises the causes, symptoms, and treatment of heat-related illness; demonstrates how to use the Humidex to assess heat stress hazards; and outlines specific actions for managing and controlling heat stress. It includes a self-audit checklist, a sample heat stress policy and an outline of the essential elements of a heat stress program.

The Heat Stress Awareness Tool can be used to assess the risk of heat stress at your workplace.

Measure the temperature and humidity, then refer to the heat stress action.

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