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Heat attack

Hot temperatures and high humidity stress the body’s ability to cool itself, resulting in heat sickness. It is important to recognize the symptoms at an early stage in order to guard yourself against serious consequences.

Know the difference

It is important to note the difference between various heat illnesses.

Dehydration is the loss of fluids from the body. The human body needs water for vital organs such as the brain, kidney, and heart to function properly.

Heat rash- is a skin irritation caused by excessive perspiration.

Heat cramps- are severe and painful cramping of the  muscles due to imbalances in body fluids and excessive perspiration

Heat syncope or fainting- dizziness that can result in fainting when standing continuously under the hot sun for a long time.

Sunburn- is a painful skin condition that occurs as a result of overexposure to the ultra-violet rays of the sun.

Heatstroke or sunstroke-is are deadly heat illnesses. It occurs when the body’s control temperature system stops functioning. The body temperature rises rapidly.

Engineering Controls

General Ventilation

Large areas or entire buildings identified as high heat areas may require a permanently installed ventilation system to reduce temperature levels.  In smaller areas, portable or local exhaust systems may be more effective or practical.

Local Ventilation.

Reduce heat stress by increasing the airflow and velocity with fans and other movers in the work area (as long as the air temperature is less than the person’s skin temperature).  If the air temperature is higher than about 100° to 104°F, skin warming may offset any advantage gained by evaporative cooling.  Because this method does not cool the air, the increased airflow must contact the worker directly to be effective.  This control will have little if any, positive effect on workers wearing vapor‑barrier clothing.

Administrative and Work Practice Control

Schedule work for the cooler part of the day, and schedule routine maintenance and repair work in hot areas for the cooler seasons of the year.

Fluid Replacement

Place ample supplies of liquids close to the work area. They should be provided at 50‑ 60F. Because the normal thirst mechanism does not ensure sufficient fluid intake, encourage workers to drink small amounts on a frequent basis, e.g., one 4-ounce to 6-ounce cup every 20 minutes.

The taste of commercially available balanced electrolyte replacement drinks may also encourage fluid intake. (These products are perfectly acceptable when diluted 50% in water.) Although some commercial electrolyte replacement drinks contain salt, this is not necessary for acclimated individuals who generally add enough salt to their diets.


Most people get used to heat exposure up to a point.  This is called acclimation and it results in less cardiovascular demand for a given activity.  The worker will sweat more efficiently (increasing evaporative cooling) and may lose less salt, thus will more easily maintain normal body temperature.  Acclimation decreases the risk of heat‑related illnesses and associated unsafe acts.

Deliberate acclimation involves exposing employees to work in a hot environment for progressively longer periods. For workers with recent experience (within two weeks) in jobs where heat levels may produce heat stress, NIOSH recommends the following regimen: 50% of normal exposure on day one, 60% on day two, 80% on day three, and 100% percent on day four.

Buddy System

 Working in pairs or small teams allows appropriately trained workers to observe each other for signs of heat-related disorders.  Employees may also share work activities to reduce metabolic heat production.


Appropriately trained workers can help monitor their own heart conditions. Training should emphasize that heat stress can affect an individual’s ability to reason clearly. For this reason, self-determination must be augmented by the heat awareness program, worker training program, and check time and buddy system controls described in these guidelines.

Heat Awareness Condition

“Heat Awareness Condition” is declared when the potential for heat stress is significant.

lThe “Condition” is based on the daily weather forecast of the National Weather Service (NWS) or another competent forecast.  (Use the table below to compute NWS values.)  If extremely hot weather is predicted for the next day or days, a  “Heat Awareness Condition” is declared to ensure that all aspects of this procedure are in place and that personnel awareness is heightened.  Extremely hot weather is defined here as any of the following:

Ambient temperature in excess of 95° F (=35° C)


You need to learn to drink, even when you are not thirsty.

By the time you feel thirsty you are already 10% dehydrated

Urine color gives an indication of hydration state ie, (if urine is dark drink more)


Start drinking water                     ( before you start work),

Drink water                                      ( As much as you need),

Check your Urine color                (note the urine color),

Ensure adequate ventilation,

Rotate work                                       ( from hot to cool areas),

Report to your Supervisor or the Nurse at the first sign of any problem,

Keep an eye  on your workmates





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