COOL-SPACE Cares: Heat Stress (Part 2 of 2)
This is Part 2 of a two part series concerning heat stress. It is our hope that you will gain awareness and stay cool and safe during the heat of the season. If you missed Part 1 go back and check it out.
Who is Affected?
Everyone has the potential to succumb HRIs. Some groups are at greater risk than others. These groups are identified by the CDC as vulnerable groups. Some vulnerable groups include:
- Outdoor Workers
- Older Adults (Aged 65+)
- Infants and Children
Knowing the different types of heat illnesses, the warning signs, and what to do to help someone who is affected is very important in maintaining a safe environment. Even more important is preventing heat illness from happening in the first place. By taking a few simple steps every day you can greatly reduce the risk of heat illness and protect your workers and patrons; especially the vulnerable groups.
Avoiding Heat Stress
Heat Related Illnesses are 100% preventable! Avoiding heat stress can be as easy as 1, 2, 3 if you consistently practice good habits in hot environments.
1. Stay Hydrated
One of the easiest ways to decrease your risk of heat stress is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water frequently. This is especially important when you are outside, working in a hot environment, or doing strenuous exercise. However, to maintain proper hydration you need to drink lots of water throughout the day every day – even on the days that heat isn’t a factor. Employers should provide water and sufficient cooling breaks.
2. Dress for the Heat
Wearing lightweight, breathable clothing that allows for cool dry air to move across the skin will protect against exposure to the sun while allowing heat to escape. Some types of clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) may trap heat so employers should do what they can to decrease the heat and increase breaks.
Another easy way to keep your body cool and your risk of heat stress to a minimum is to apply sunscreen or other methods of sun protection, often, when you are outdoors under the sun. Protecting your face with sunglasses and a hat can also be beneficial.
3. Keep Cool
Workers, athletes, and others who will be spending long periods of time working in extreme heat should be acclimated, gradually increasing time spent in hot environments over 7-14 days. When possible adjust the schedule so more time is spent outdoors during cooler times of days. Also, provide regular breaks.
It is recommended that those exposed to the heat should be provided with a cool shaded area for rest and recovery. Making use of portable evaporative coolers or other products that keep the air moving can help everyone keep going longer. OSHA states that, “The use of fans to increase the air speed over the worker will improve heat exchange between the skin surface and the air, unless the air temperature is higher than the skin temperature.“ Evaporative cooling replaces the hot air with cooled air, making it a smart choice. Placing portable evaporative coolers in cooling tents and break areas will also keep your people cool and may shorten recovery time.
COOL-SPACE offers a full range of portable evaporative coolers that work well in outdoor and open air spaces where other forms of cooling, such as air conditioning, are both inefficient and expensive. You can provide personal cooling to individuals with a FLURRY or GLACIER unit or deliver exceptional cooling to large spaces with the AVALANCHE or BLIZZARD. If you would like assistance deciding which coolers are right for your needs our experts are ready to help.
Below you can find a chart comparing two different safety/heat index charts that can be used as a tool to determine when you are most at risk. In addition, you can also find information in the chart on the level of preventative measures you should take in each situation as well as how effective a portable evaporative cooler might be in reducing risks.
From the COOL-SPACE family, it is our sincere hope that this will help you be better informed and equipped to keep your employees, your team, your patrons, your family and friends, and yourself cool and safe in hot environments.
*Disclaimer: This article is meant to inform you and should not be used as an official diagnosis for heat stress or any of the heat related illnesses (HRIs) listed. If you, or someone around you, is experiencing any severe symptoms of Heat stress or an HRI please contact emergency services immediately and perform recommended practices on the affected person until help can arrive.
“Extreme Heat.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NCEH, 8 July 2019, www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.html.
Heat Stress in Construction. 21 May 2020, blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2020/05/21/heat-stress-construction/.
“Heat Stress Related Illness.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 June 2018, www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/heatrelillness.html.
OSHA Fact Sheet: Protecting Workers from the Effects of Heat | Occupational Safety and Health Administration, US Department of Labor, Aug. 2014, www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/heat_stress.html.