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Oklahoma State University

Heat Stress

Employees who are exposed to heat stress risk factors should receive training on how to recognize and prevent the early signs of heat stress and what to do if these symptoms are experienced. Warning signs of heat stress can range from visible sweating (beading on skin), dizziness, fainting, nausea, clumsiness and confusion. These early symptoms should be taken seriously and monitored closely to prevent the progression to more serious conditions like heat stroke (a medical emergency). Details such as clothing must also be considered. In addition, the measurement of a hot environment involves more than just measuring the ambient air temperature -- radiant heat, air movement, and relative humidity are all factors that must be determined.

Some recommendations for preventing heat stress include:

  • Know the signs & symptoms of heat-related illnesses; monitor yourself and coworkers.
    • blurred vision
    • confusion, erratic behavior
    • dizziness
    • fainting, collapse
    • heavy sweating
    • muscle spasms
    • pale, clammy skin
    • weakness, fatigue
  • Avoid working in direct sun or near other heat sources.
  • Use cooling fans and/or air-conditioning; take regular & frequent rest breaks.
  • Drink adequate amounts of water or an electrolyte drink, (i.e., approximately 1 cup every 15 minutes.)
  • Wear lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or other diuretic drinks as well as heavy meals.

Useful Links:

CDC: Heat Stress Website

OSHA: Heat Stress Card

OSHA: Heat Stress Website

OSHA: Heat Stress Phone Apps

Red Cross: Heat Stress Checklist