Tips to Beat the Heat

The OCC DOC’s guide to beat the heat

Working outside is no easy task and it’s important to know how to stay safe from the heat we will experience this summer! Beat the heat with these 7 simple steps from the Department of Labor.

  1. Institute a heat acclimatization plan and medical monitoring program. Closely supervise new employees for the first 14 days or until they are fully acclimatized. Most heat-related worker deaths occur in the first 3 days on the job and more than a third occur on the very first day. New and temporary are disproportionately affected. If someone has not worked in hot weather for at least a week, their body needs time to adjust.
  2. Encourage workers to drink 1 cup of water every 15-20 minutes. During prolonged sweating lasting several hours, they should drink sports beverages containing balanced electrolytes along with water.
  3. Provide shaded or air-conditioned rest areas for cooling down and empower workers to use them.
  4. Provide workers with protective equipment and
    (such as water-cooled garments, air-cooled
    garments, hats, ice-packet vests, wetted over-garments,
    and heat-reflective aprons or suits).
  5. Be familiar with heat illness signs and symptoms, and make sure your employees are too. Refer to the chart below to identify which conditions may be present and how to treat each one.
  6. Encourage workers to recognize heat illness symptoms and notify a supervisor or medical professional if they or other coworkers are showing signs. Implement a buddy system where workers observe each other for early signs and symptoms of heat intolerance.
  7. Know what to do in an emergency. Employees should call
    a supervisor for help. If a supervisor is not available, call 911.
    Have someone stay with the worker until help arrives.

HEAT EXHAUSTION CAN QUICKLY TURN FATAL! Be sure to refer to this chart from OSHA to know the signs and symptoms for helping a colleague.

Illness Symptoms First Aid*
Heat stroke
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Excessive sweating or red, hot, dry skin
  • Very high body temperature
  • Call 911

While waiting for help:

  • Place worker in shady, cool area
  • Loosen clothing, remove outer clothing
  • Fan air on worker; cold packs in armpits
  • Wet worker with cool water; apply ice packs, cool compresses, or ice if available
  • Provide fluids (preferably water) as soon as possible
  • Stay with worker until help arrives
Heat exhaustion
  • Cool, moist skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Light headedness
  • Weakness
  • Thirst
  • Irritability
  • Fast heart beat
  • Have worker sit or lie down in a cool, shady area
  • Give worker plenty of water or other cool beverages to drink
  • Cool worker with cold compresses/ice packs
  • Take to clinic or emergency room for medical evaluation or treatment if signs or symptoms worsen or do not improve within 60 minutes.
  • Do not return to work that day
Heat cramps
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain
  • Usually in abdomen, arms, or legs
  • Have worker rest in shady, cool area
  • Worker should drink water or other cool beverages
  • Wait a few hours before allowing worker to return to strenuous work
  • Have worker seek medical attention if cramps don’t go away
Heat rash
  • Clusters of red bumps on skin
  • Often appears on neck, upper chest, folds of skin
  • Try to work in a cooler, less humid environment when possible
  • Keep the affected area dry
* Remember, if you are not a medical professional, use this information as a guide only to help workers in need.

Get a printout of this flyer to put in your workplace

Tips to beat the heat