Summer is upon us! This means outdoor activities and fun in the sun for most of us but it also means that many workers are going to have to deal with high temperatures and possible heat-related illnesses. Anyone and everyone can fall prey to heat stroke and heat exhaustion but it is especially important to keep an eye on older workers as well as new hires (who haven’t had a chance to acclimatize yet) because they are more susceptible.
Here are a few tips to help avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke:
- Hydrate! Even if you don’t feel like you are losing liquids, you are. Dry heat wicks the perspiration away so that you need feel like you’re sweating but you are. You should be drinking at least 32 ounces of water a hour. Try to hydrate every 15 minutes.
- Avoid working during the hottest part of the day. If possible, start early and work late when the temperatures are lower and break during the middle of the day when temperatures are at their worst.
- Prioritize your jobs. Some jobs require more physical exertion than others so, if possible, save the lightest jobs for the time of day when the temperatures are the highest.
- Take Breaks… often! And while you’re on your break, rehydrate.
- Move around. As the sun moves across the sky, so the shaded area changes. Certain sides of the building are in the sun in the morning and shaded in the afternoon. Adjust your schedule to work as much as possible in the shade.
- Watch what and when you eat. Part of your bodies cooling system is the blood pumping in your veins. Heavy meals pull more of that blood into the digestion system. Eat a big breakfast and a light lunch and avoid snacking on sweet foods that will cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash.
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Educate yourself. Know the symptoms of heat stress both in yourself as well as in anyone working around you and take action as soon as you spot these symptoms.
- Don’t work alone. You may not notice the signs of heat stress in yourself. Having someone else working with you who is educated about heat illness can be crucial. If you absolutely have to work alone, make sure you have a cell phone so that you can call 911 in case of emergency.
Get all your safety supplies online at
When was the last time one of your safety meetings talked about stress as it relates to your safety? While often ignored, stress in the workplace is actually one of the major contributors to accidents. Learning to successfully handle that stress can have a profound affect, not only on your emotional well-being but on your physical safety as well.
OSHA Europe has put together a comprehensive site designed specifically to help you do just that.
You can either download the training or go through it online. It is designed for European workers and you can select 1 of 30 countries and 1 of 25 languages. USA, not being a European country, is not listed as one of the countries but you can select “english” and run through the training even though you aren’t in Europe.
Have a look at the “Managing Stress and Psychosocial Risks E-Guide“
Heat Wave: A Major Summer Killer
A National Problem
With forecasted hot temperatures this weekend and continue to heat up and daily temps hover at or above 90°F every day the possibility of heat related emergencies increases. Heat kills by taxing the human body beyond its own cooling abilities. In a normal year, more than 175 Americans succumb to the demands of summer heat. North American summers are hot; most summers see heat waves in one section or another of the United States. They tend to combine both high temperature and high humidity although some of the worst have been catastrophically dry. Dealing with outside elements are critical to our proper health and wellness.
Considering this tragic death toll, the National Weather Service (NWS) has stepped up its efforts to alert more effectively the general public and appropriate authorities to the hazards of heat waves-those prolonged excessive heat/humidity episodes.
Based on the latest research findings, the NWS has devised the “Heat Index” (HI), (sometimes referred to as the “apparent temperature”). The HI, given in degrees F, is an accurate measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity (RH) is added to the actual air temperature.
To find the HI, look at the Heat Index Chart (Below). As an example, if the air temperature is 96°F (found on the top side of the table) and the RH is 55% (found at the left of the table), the HI-or how hot it really feels-is 112°F. This is at the intersection of the 96° row and the 55% column. Listed as a Danger condition.
IMPORTANT: Since HI values were devised for shady, light wind conditions, EXPOSURE TO FULL SUNSHINE CAN INCREASE HI VALUES BY UP TO 15°F. Also, STRONG WINDS, PARTICULARLY WITH VERY HOT, DRY AIR, CAN BE EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS. Yes, We do have plenty of wind in our Plateau coverage areas.
Heat Index/Heat Disorders: Possible heat disorders for people in higher risk groups.
Heat Index of 130° OR Higher: HEATSTROKE/SUNSTROKE HIGHLY HIGHER LIKELY WITH CONTINUED EXPOSURE,
Heat Index of 105°- 130°: SUNSTROKE, HEAT CRAMPS OR HEAT EXHAUSTION LIKELY, AND HEATSTROKE POSSIBLE WITH PROLONGED EXPOSURE AND/OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.
Heat Index of 90°- 105°: SUNSTROKE, HEAT CRAMPS AND HEAT EXHAUSTION POSSIBLE WITH PROLONGED EXPOSURE AND/OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.
Heat Index of 80° – 90°: FATIGUE POSSIBLE WITH PROLONGED EXPOSURE AND/OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Note on the HI chart the shaded zone above 105°F. This corresponds to a level of HI that may cause increasingly severe heat disorders with continued exposure and/or physical activity.
|HEAT INDEX||affects on the human body|
|130 or above||heat stroke highly likely with continued exposure|
|105 to 130||heat stroke likely with prolonged exposure|
|80 to 105||heat stroke possible with prolonged exposure|
Summary of NWS’s Alert Procedures
The NWS will initiate alert procedures when the HI is expected to exceed 105°- 1 10°F (depending on local climate) for at least two consecutive days. The procedures are:
- Include HI values in zone and city forecasts.
- Issue Special Weather Statements and/or Public Information Statements presenting a detailed discussion of
- Extent of the hazard including HI values
- Who is most at risk
- Safety rules for reducing the risk.
- Assist state/local health officials in preparing Civil Emergency Messages in severe heat waves. Meteorological information from Special Weather Statements will be included as well as more detailed medical information, advice, and names and telephone numbers of health officials.
- Release to the media and over NOAA‘s own Weather Radio all of the above information.
How Heat Affects the Body Human
Human bodies dissipate heat by varying the rate and depth of blood circulation, by losing water through the skin and sweat glands, and-as the last extremity is reached-by panting, when blood is heated above 98.6 degrees. The heart begins to pump more blood, blood vessels dilate to accommodate the increased flow, and the bundles of tiny capillaries threading through the upper layers of skin are put into operation. The body’s blood is circulated closer to the skin’s surface, and excess heat drains off into the cooler atmosphere. At the same time, water diffuses through the skin as perspiration. The skin handles about 90 percent of the body’s heat dissipating function.
Sweating, by itself, does nothing to cool the body, unless the water is removed by evaporation, and high relative humidity retards evaporation. The evaporation process itself works this way: the heat energy required to evaporate the sweat is extracted from the body, thereby cooling it. Under conditions of high temperature (above 90 degrees) and high relative humidity, the body is doing everything it can to maintain 98.6 degrees inside. The heart is pumping a torrent of blood through dilated circulatory vessels; the sweat glands are pouring liquid-including essential dissolved chemicals, like sodium and chloride onto the surface of the skin.
Heat disorders generally have to do with a reduction or collapse of the body’s ability to shed heat by circulatory changes and sweating, or a chemical (salt) imbalance caused by too much sweating. When heat gain exceeds the level the body can remove, or when the body cannot compensate for fluids and salt lost through perspiration, the temperature of the body’s inner core begins to rise and heat-related illness may develop.
Ranging in severity, heat disorders share one common feature: the individual has overexposed or over exercised for his age and physical condition in the existing thermal environment.
Sunburn, with its ultraviolet radiation burns, can significantly retard the skin’s ability to shed excess heat. Studies indicate that, other things being equal, the severity of heat disorders tend to increase with age-heat cramps in a 17-year-old may be heat exhaustion in someone 40 and heat stroke in a person over 60.
Acclimatization has to do with adjusting sweat-salt concentrations, among other things. The idea is to lose enough water to regulate body temperature, with the least possible chemical disturbance.
Preventing Heat-Related Illness
Elderly persons, small children, chronic invalids, those on certain medications or drugs (especially tranquilizers) and persons with weight and alcohol problems are particularly susceptible to heat reactions, especially during heat waves in areas where a moderate climate usually prevails.
Slow down. Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
Dress for summer. Lightweight light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.
Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods (like proteins) that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
Drink plenty of water or other non-alcohol fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Persons who (1) have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, (2) are on fluid restrictive diets or (3) have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids
Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.
(If possible)Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day (during hot weather) in an air conditioned environment affords some protection.
Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation for our bodies that much more difficult
SUNBURN: Redness and pain. In severe cases swelling of skin, blisters, fever, headaches. First Aid: Ointments for mild cases if blisters appear and do not break. If breaking occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious, extensive cases should be seen by physician.
HEAT CRAMPS: Painful spasms usually in muscles of legs and abdomen possible. Heavy sweating. First Aid: Firm pressure on cramping muscles, or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use.
HEAT EXHAUSTION: Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy. Pulse rapid. Normal temperature possible. Fainting and vomiting. First Aid: Get victim out of sun. Lie down and loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air conditioned room. Sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.
HEAT STROKE (or sunstroke): High body temperature (103° F. or higher). Hot dry skin. Rapid and strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. First Aid: HEAT STROKE IS A SEVERE MEDICAL EMERGENCY. SUMMON EMERGENCY MEDICAL ASSISTANCE OR GET THE VICTIM TO A HOSPITAL IMMEDIATELY. DELAY CAN BE FATAL. Move the victim to a cooler environment Reduce body temperature with cold bath or sponging. Use extreme caution. Remove clothing, use fans and air conditioners. If temperature rises again, repeat process. Do not give fluids. Persons on salt restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.
Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau
Hyperthermia Heat Stroke: Summer Heat Makes It Especially Dangerous to Leave Children or Pets in Cars.
Heat coming back again to our Plateau area and temperature up near 100 degrees the rest of the week and weekend. Across the country record Highs and Dangerous Temperatures continue throughout the entire United States. The risk of a serious injury or death during hot weather is heightened for children and pets left alone in vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warned. New research shows that for children hyperthermia (heat-stroke) is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle deaths.
Even with the windows rolled down two inches, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of a vehicle to reach deadly temperatures on a hot summer day, said Ronald Medford, Acting Deputy Administrator of NHTSA. Children or pets should never be left alone in or around a motor vehicle, not even for a quick errand. Any number of things can go critically wrong in the blink of an eye.
STATISTICS ON CHILD HYPERTHERMIA
- Total number of U.S. hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars, 2012: 11
- Total number of U.S. hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars, 2011: 33
- Total number of U.S. hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars, 1998-present: 538
· An examination of media reports about the 538 child vehicular hyperthermia deaths for an thirteen year period (1998 through 2011) shows the following circumstances:
· 51% – child “forgotten” by caregiver (278 Children)
· 30% – child playing in unattended vehicle (154)
· 17% – child intentionally left in vehicle by adult (99)
· 1% – circumstances unknown (7)
What is hyperthermia?
Hyperthermia is overheating of the body.The word is made up of “hyper” (high) + “thermia” from the Greek word “thermes” (heat). Hyperthermia is literally high heat. There are a variety of heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Other heat-
related health problems include heat cramps, heat rash and sunburn.
Summer can bring heat waves with unusually high temperatures that last for days and sometimes weeks. In the summer of 1980, a severe heat wave hit the United States, and nearly 1,700 people lost their lives from heat-related illness. Likewise, in the summer of 2003, tens of thousands of people died of the heat in Europe. High temperatures put people at risk. 2012 has been another record setting year with numerous days with high heat indexes. So far 11 children have lost their lives to hyperthermia.
What causes hyperthermia and heat-related illnesses?
People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn’t enough. In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures can damage the brain or other vital organs.
Several factors affect the body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Other conditions that can limit the ability to regulate temperature include old age, obesity, fever (illness), dehydration, heart disease, poor circulation, sunburn, and drug, and alcohol use.
Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
- infants and children up to four years of age
- people 65 years of age or older
- people who are overweight
- people who overexert during work or exercise
- people who are ill or on certain medications
Infants and children up to four years of age are very sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.
People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently, and are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Overweight people may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.
Any health condition that causes dehydration makes the body more susceptible to heat-related illness. If you or someone you know is at higher risk, it is important to drink plenty of fluids (water), avoid overexertion, and get your doctor or pharmacist’s advice about medications being taken for:
- high blood pressure,
- mental illness,
- insomnia, or
- poor circulation.
|Only 19 states have laws specifically addressing leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. The remaining 31 states do not have laws specifically against leaving a child unattended in a vehicle Currently only 1 state, Utah, has proposed legislation that would make it a crime to leave a child unattended in a vehicle Another 14 states have had previously proposed unattended child laws
Heatstroke occurs when a person’s temperature exceeds 103 degrees F and their thermoregulatory mechanism is overwhelmed
– Symptoms include: dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, seizure, hot dry skin that is flushed but not sweating, loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat, hallucinations and death.
A core body temperature of 107 degrees F is considered lethal as cells are damaged and internal organs shut down Children’s thermoregulatory systems are not as efficient as an adult’s and their body temperatures warm at a rate 3 to 5 times faster than an adults.
VEHICLE HEATING DYNAMICS
The atmosphere and the windows of a car are relatively transparent to the suns shortwave radiation and are warmed little. However this shortwave energy does heat objects that it strikes. For example, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180 to over 200 degrees F.
These objects (e.g., dashboard, steering wheel, child seat) heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection and also give off long wave radiation (red) which is very efficient at warming the air trapped inside a vehicle.
HEAT STUDY CONCLUSIONS:
- Average elapsed time and temperature rise
- 10 minutes ~ 19 deg F
- 20 minutes ~ 29 deg F
- 30 minutes ~ 34 deg F
- 60 minutes ~ 43 deg F
- 1 to 2 hours ~ 45-50 deg F
- Cracking the windows had little effect
- Vehicle interior color probably biggest factor
- “Parents and other caregivers need to be educated that a vehicle is not a babysitter or play area … but it can easily become tragedy”
- NEVER LEAVE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A VEHICLE. NOT EVEN FOR A MINUTE!
- IF YOU SEE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A HOT VEHICLE CALL 9-1-1.
- Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping babies.
- Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. IF A CHILD IS MISSING, ALWAYS CHECK THE POOL FIRST, AND THEN THE CAR, INCLUDING THE TRUNK. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.
- Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver.
- Or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
- Make “look before you leave” a routine whenever you get out of the car.
- Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school.
- Dont leave your pets in the car either!! Same affects can happen to them!
SAFETY FIRST, SAFETY ALWAYS!
Information provided by the NHTSA, NWS and ggweather.com
Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald
Safety and Security Manager for Plateau