Heat stress can affect anyone on the job. Heat Stress, if not
stopped in time, can result in death. The good news is that Heat
Stress is 100% preventable. The Bureau
of Labor Statistics published the following data in 2008:
• 1,680 recordable injuries due to environmental heat
• Of those, 150 resulted in a recordable “heat stroke”
• 26 resulted in death
• Between 2005 and 2006 Cal OSHA studied 71 serious heat-related
enforcement investigations in California. The study revealed the
real risk and dangers associated with heat stress.
with incidents included: agriculture, construction, mfg, service,
transportation, public safety, forestry, and retail
of cases happened within 1stweek on the job
of cases resulted in death
of those affected ranged from 16 to 79
of work was light to moderately strenuous
of cases involved outdoor work
• Of those not resulting in death, 31% required hospitalization
study resulted in a new California OSHA standard regarding heat
stress prevention. California Code of Regs, Title 8, 3395 (featured
Factors of Heat Stress
heat stress can affect anyone anywhere, it is important to know
the kinds of environments that heat stress is most likely in.
In addition, an employer should know the kind of labor puts his
employees more at risk of heat stress. The following is a list
of factors that plays a part in the heat stress of workers:
• High temps
sun or heat
exertion (i.e. work)
tolerance or adaptation to heat
Warning Signs of Heat Stress
of heat exhaustion, heat cramps or heat stroke during strenuous
activity in environments of 90° F or above. Allow your body
to adjust to high-heat, high-humidity environments before exertion
begins. If you work in protective clothing in environments of
81°F and above, experts recommend no more than 15 minutes
per hour unless cooling or heat-stress monitor is provided. Don’t
depend on thirst or sweat as an indicator of escalating body heat.
Instead, be aware of the temperature and humidity, and drink fluids
with electrolytes at regular intervals.
The following Signs are early indicators of someone affected by
Dizziness or Fainting
Confusion or Disorientation
Rapid Heart Rate
Dark Yellow Urine (dehydration)
Redness of Skin or Heat Rashes
• Mild to moderate symptoms can quickly turn severe and
result in hospitalization or even death. DO NOT WAIT. Act quickly
if any warning signs are noticed.
Solution Tips for Heatstress
Redness and pain. In severe cases, swelling of skin, blisters,
fever and headaches.
Ointments for mild cases. Do not break blisters. If they do
break, apply dry, sterile dressing. For severe cases, consult
Painful muscles spasms, usually in the legs and abdomen. Possible
Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles, then gently massage
to relieve muscle spasm. Give sips of Sqwincher every 15 minutes.
Heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, cold skin, pale and clammy.
Steady pulse, normal temperature, possible fainting and vomiting.
Lie victim downout of sun, loosen clothing and apply cool cloths.
Fan or move victim to an air cooled room. Give sips of Sqwincher
every 15 minutes for 1 hour. If victim vomits, seek immediate
Stuporous appearance, tired, nausea with possible vomiting.
Unsteady gait, heavy perspiration, dehydrated with high body
temperature (up to 108°F): often accompanied by headached,
rapid respiration and pulse.
Cease exertion and prmptly cool body exterior. Initial replacement
of fluids: water first, then Sqwincher. If victim cannot retain
fluids, transport to hospital.
High Body Temperature (106° F or higher); hot, red and dry
skin, strong and rapid pulse, possible unconsciousness.
Heat stroke is a severe medical problem. Move victim to cooler
area and reduce body temperature with a bath or sponging. Use
fans and air conditioners. Get victim to hospital immediately.
Delay can be fatal. Do not give fluids!
is At Stake?
stressed body cannot work at optimum speed or performance. Worker
performance declines as the effects of heat stress increase.
working under stress, cognitive abilities decrease. Slower reaction
time and poor decision-making can lead to injury. Operating equipment
or tools is always dangerous, but even more so when workers are
impaired or under stress.
Loss or Damage
skills are often impaired when the body is under stress. A worker
not at peak form can cause accidents resulting in property loss
cost per worker for a disabling lost-time injury: >$38,000
workers’ comp claim for injuries related to excessive heat
Cost of retraining
other employees, etc.
Code of Regulations, Title 8, section 3395
Heat Illness Prevention. Subchapter 7.
General Industry Safety Orders Group 2.
Safe Practices and Personal Protection Article 10.
Personal Safety Devices and Safeguards New query
Heat Illness Prevention
(a) Scope and
This section applies to the control of risk of occurrence of heat
illness. This is not intended to exclude the application of other
sections of Title 8, including, but not necessarily limited to,
sections 1230(a), 1512, 1524, 3203, 3363, 3400, 3439, 3457, 6251,
6512, 6969, 6975, 8420 and 8602(e). This section applies to all
outdoor places of employment at those times when the environment
risk factors for heat illness, as defined in (b), are present.
Note No. 1: The measures required here may be integrated into
the employer's Injury and Illness Program required by section
3203. Note No. 2:This standard is enforceable by the Division
of Occupational Safety and Health pursuant to Labor Code sections
6308 and 6317 and any other statutes conferring enforcement powers
upon the Division. It is a violation of Labor Code sections 6310,
6311, and 6312 to discharge or discriminate in any other manner
against employees for exercising their rights under this or any
other provision offering occupational safety and health protection
"Acclimatization" means temporary adaptation of the
body to work in the heat that occurs gradually when a person is
exposed to it. Acclimatization peaks in most people within four
to fourteen days of regular work for at least two hours
per day in the heat. "Heat Illness" means a serious
medical condition resulting from the body's inability to cope
with a particular heat load, and includes heat cramps, heat exhaustion,
heat syncope and heat stroke. "Environmental risk factors
for heat illness" means working conditions that create the
possibility that heat illness could occur, including air temperature,
relative humidity, radiant heat from the sun and other sources,
conductive heat sources such as the ground, air movement, workload
severity and duration, protective clothing and personal protective
equipment worn by employees. "Personal risk factors for heat
illness" means factors such as an individual's age, degree
of acclimatization, health, water consumption, alcohol consumption,
caffeine consumption, and use of prescription medications that
affect the body's water retention or other physiological responses
to heat. "Preventative recovery Period" means a period
of time to recover from the heat in order to prevent heat illness.
"Shade" means blockage of direct sunlight. Canopies,
umbrellas and other temporary structures or devices may be used
to provide shade. One indicator that
blockage is sufficient is when objects do not cast a shadow in
the area of blocked sunlight. Shade is not adequate when heat
in the area of shade defeats the purpose of shade, which is to
allow the body to cool. For example, a car
sitting in the sun does not provide acceptable shade to a person
inside it, unless the car is running with air conditioning.
Employees shall have access to potable drinking water meeting
the requirements of Sections 1524, 3363, and 3457, as applicable.
Water shall be provided in sufficient quantity at the beginning
of the work shift to provide one quart per employee per hour for
drinking for the entire shift. Employers may begin the shift with
smaller quantities of water if they have effective procedures
for replenishment during the shift as needed to allow employees
to drink one quart or more per hour. The frequent drinking of
water, as described in (e), shall be encouraged.
Employees suffering from heat illness or believing a preventative
recovery period is needed, shall be provided access to an area
with shade that is either open to the air or provided with ventilation
or cooling for
a period of no less than five minutes. Such access to shade shall
be permitted at all times.
(1) Employee training. Training in the following topics shall
be provided to all supervisory and non-supervisory employees.
(A) The environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness;
(B) The employer's procedures for identifying, evaluating, and
controlling exposures to the environmental and personal risk factors
for heat illness;
(C) The importance of frequent consumption of small quantities
of water, up to 4 cups per hour under extreme conditions of work
and heat; (D) The importance of acclimatization; (E) The different
types of heat illness and the common signs and symptoms of heat
illness; (F) The importance of immediately reporting to the employer,
directly or through the employee's supervisor, symptoms or signs
of heat illness in themselves, or in co-workers; (G) The employer's
procedures for responding to symptoms of possible heat illness,
including how emergency medical services will be provided should
they become necessary; (H) Procedures for contacting emergency
medical services, and if necessary, for transporting employees
to a point where they can be reached by an emergency medical service
provider; (I) How to provide clear and precise directions to the
work site. (2) Supervisor training. Prior to assignment to supervision
of employees working in the heat, training on the following topics
shall be provided: (A) The information required to be provided
by section (e)(1) above. (B) The procedures the supervisor is
to follow to implement the applicable provisions in this section.
(C) The procedures the supervisor is to follow when an employee
symptoms consistent with possible heat illness, including emergency
response procedures. (f) Review. No later than January 1, 2006,
the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board shall review
the feasibility of providing shade for all rest periods at outdoor
places of employment. Note: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor
Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code. HISTORY 1. New section
filed 8-22-2005 as an emergency; operative 8-22-2005 (Register
2005, No. 34). A Certificate of Compliance must be transmitted
to OAL by 12- 20-2005 or emergency language will be repealed by
operation of law on the following day. 2. New section refiled
12-20-2005 as an emergency; operative 12-20-2005 (Register 2005,
No. 51). A Certificate of Compliance must be transmitted to OAL
by 4-19-2006 or emergency language will be repealed by operation
of law on the following day. Go Back to Article 10 Table of Contents
The above information is provided free of charge by the Department
of Industrial Relations from its web site at http://www.dir.ca.gov/.
Measures You Can Take
Use cooling measure in addition to shade, spray body with water,
wipe with wet towels, longer breaks in shade
• Change Schedule
Work earlier or later, split-up work shifts, cut work shifts or
stop work to avoid hotter parts of the day
• More Vigilance
Supervisors/employees watch each other closely, provide feedback,
work in buddy system, designate person to monitor employees conditions,
account for employees
• More Water
Employees should drink small quantities of water more frequently
before, during and after work; replenish extra supplies of water
• Acclimatization Warning
Body needs time to adjust to sudden abnormally high temperatures
or extreme conditions; even employees previously fully acclimatized
are at risk
• Change Meals
Eat smaller/more frequent meals (less body heat during digestion
than with big meals); Choose foods with higher water content (fruits,
Be Aware of the Drugs that Interfere with Thermoregulation
Antihistamines (Benadryl, Atarax, etc.), Decongestants (Sudafed),
High Blood Pressure (diuretics, beta blockers), Psychiatric Drugs
(tricyclic antidepressants, antipsychotics, etc.)
information is provided “as is” and is not to be considered
a warranty of product performance or as an authoritative informational
page. Due to the diverse field conditions and other variables which
can affect a product’s performance, Calolympic Safety disclaims
all warranties (expressed and implied) as to any product’s
performance or any information provided.
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