Heat Stress Prevention

This page covers the following topics:

  • Overview
  • How Heat Illness Develops
  • Types of Heat-Related Illnesses
  • Determining Unsafe Working Conditions
  • Additional Risk Factors for Developing Heat-Related Illness
  • Prevention Techniques

Overview

Workers employed in outdoor occupations such as farming are exposed to hot and humid environments that put them at risk for heat-related illness or death. There are a range of heat illnesses, and these illnesses can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical condition.

How Heat Illness Develops

When working in a hot environment, the body must get rid of excess heat to maintain a stable internal temperature. It does this mainly through circulating blood to the skin and through sweating. When the air temperature is close to or warmer than normal body temperature, cooling the body becomes more difficult. In these conditions, blood circulated to the skin cannot lose its heat. Sweating then becomes the main way the body cools off. But sweating is effective only if the humidity level is low enough to allow evaporation, and if the fluids and salts that are lost are adequately replaced.


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