Tennessee OSHA wants Tennessee workers to be aware of the symptoms of heat illness and heat stroke as temperaturesstart to rise this summer. Every year, thousands of workers are affected byexposure to heat. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death if the victim does not receive proper medical attention.
“Summertime in Tennessee typically brings hot temperatures and extreme humidity,” said TOSHA Administrator Steve Hawkins. “In order to keep workers safe from heat illness and heat stroke, employers need to take certain precautions to keep their workers safe and healthy.”
Signs of heat stress are headache,dizziness, fainting, weakness, wet skin, irritability, thirst, nausea or vomiting. Some symptoms associated with heat stroke are confusion, the inability to think clearly, passing out, seizures or no longer being sweaty.
Heat stress and heat stroke can shut down major body organs causing acute heart, liver, kidney and muscle damage, nervous system problems and blood disorders. Workers suffering from heat exhaustion are also at great risk for accidents since they are less alert and can be confused.
To prevent heat illness employers need to remember three simple things: water, rest, shade. It is crucial for employers to allow their employees to be able to drink water often and allow them rest in the shade.
If symptoms of heat stress or heatstroke are noticed it is important to report them early and to be knowledgeable of what to do in an emergency.
For more information on heat stress and heat stroke please go to: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html#affected.