6 Ways To Protect Yourself From Heatstroke

Tips to prevent heatstroke
Click here to view an infographic with heatstroke prevention tips.

Summer is here—and temperatures are heating up, especially if you’re working outside. Take some time to protect yourself from heat-related illness with these tips from EPD.

If you’re new on the job—or are returning after some time off—you are especially at risk for heatstroke. Workers who have been on the job for fewer than three days are most likely to die from heat-related illness, according to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).

More than 2,600 workers suffered from heat illness in 2014, with 18 dying from heatstroke, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Construction workers comprise about one-third of those deaths. Workers who have jobs outside—like agriculture, transportation, and maintenance—are also at risk.

Protect yourself from heat illness with these tips from OSHA:

  • Prepare a heat acclimatization plan. More than one-third of heat-related deaths happen on the first day. If someone hasn’t worked in the heat for more than a week, he or she will need time to get used to it.
  • Drink a cup of water every 15-20 minutes, even if you are not thirsty. If you have been sweating profusely for several hours, drink beverages with electrolytes (such as sports drinks).
  • Spend time in a shaded or air-conditioned area to rest when needed.
  • Wear protective clothing. Light-colored clothing, hats, and clothing that is air cooled can help.
  • Make sure you know the signs of heat illness. If you experience dizziness, a headache, nausea, vomiting, or weakness with a fast heartbeat, you need to rest. If you or a coworker has fainted, emergency help is needed.
  • Tell your supervisor if you or a coworker is experiencing any signs of heat-related illness. Implement a “buddy system” where you watch over your coworkers (and they watch you) for signs of illness. If someone gets sick, call 911 and stay with that person until help arrives.