Heat Illness Prevention

1. Purpose 

a) Employees working outdoors or in areas of a facility where the risk factors for heat illness are present are at risk for developing heat illnesses if they do not protect themselves appropriately. The objective of this program is employee awareness regarding heat illness, signs and symptoms, ways to prevent illness, and treatment of the illness. An employee who works in the heat, either outdoors or inside of a facility, and all individuals who supervise these employees must comply with the procedures in this program. 

2. Program

a) If an employee is not feeling well, or another employee recognizes signs or symptoms in an employee due to the heat, the employee shall adhere to the following statement:  When impaired, employees shall not be permitted to work within the limited approach boundary of energized electrical conductors or circuit parts operating at 50 volts or more and in work situations where electrical hazards may exist. 

b) Physical work factors (confined spaces, excavations, climbing, jack hammering, wire pulls, et al.) must be taken into consideration before an employee begins the task that is assigned. An employee’s personal physical condition must be taken into consideration before an employee starts a task in a facility where the risk factors for heat illness are present. 
Everyone reacts differently to heat but we all need to know how to recognize and treat heat emergencies. There are three kinds of heat related illness: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  All heat-related injuries need prompt medical attention. 

3. Heat Illnesses 

a) Heat cramps are muscle cramps. Usually these cramps occur in the arms or legs but may be in the abdominal or chest muscles as well. These cramps are caused by excessive body fluid loss through sweating. First aid includes moving the victim to a cool place, resting the cramping muscle, and giving the person cool water. 

b) Heat exhaustion signs include heavy sweating, weakness, fast pulse, normal body temperature, headache and dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. First aid for heat exhaustion requires the worker to be moved to a cool place. Keep them lying down with their legs straight and elevated 8 to 12 inches. Apply cold packs, wet towels, or wet their clothing to cool them. Give the victim cold water only if he or she is conscious. If no improvement is noted within 30 minutes, seek professional medical attention. 

c) Heat stroke is a true emergency! Signs and symptoms include high body temperature, unconsciousness, hot skin, rapid pulse and breathing, weakness, dizziness or headache. Immediate first aid is required. Move the victim to a cool place and immediately cool the worker by any available means (use ice and water from a jobsite cooler for example). Keep the head and shoulders slightly elevated. Monitor the airway and check to be sure the victim is breathing. Call for professional help or rush the heat stroke victim to a hospital immediately. 

4. Prevention

a) Employees must have access to drinking water and are encouraged to frequently consume small amounts of water throughout the day. ESCO must provide portable water containers or bottled water. If Igloo-type water coolers are provided they must be emptied, cleaned, refilled, and have the seal taped with the date daily. Adequate intake for males is roughly 208 oz. or 6.5 qt. of total fluids a day and for females it is 144 oz. or 4.5 qt. of total fluids a day. Keep in mind consuming fluids throughout the day in small amounts is recommended and water is the best choice. 

5. Shade 

a) Employees suffering from heat-related illnesses, or in need of a recovery period from the heat, must be provided with access to an area with shade that is open to the air, or an office or break room that is air-conditioned or where ventilation is provided. Access to these areas must be permitted at all times. 

6. Training 

a) Training must be provided for employees and their supervisors working on jobs where environmental risk factors for heat illness are present. Refresher training must be provided annually. 

b) All employees working on job tasks where environmental risk factors for heat illness are present shall receive instruction before being assigned to work tasks. Training topics shall include the following:

i. Environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness. 

ii. Procedures for identifying, evaluating, and controlling exposures to the environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness. 

iii. Employees who experience excessive sweating require frequent consumption of small quantities of water, up to 4 cups per hour when working in extreme conditions of heat. 

iv. Importance of acclimatization. 

v. Different types, signs, and symptoms of heat illness. 

vi. Importance of immediately reporting symptoms or signs of heat illness in themselves or in coworkers to their supervisor. 

vii. Procedures for responding to symptoms of possible heat illness, including how emergency medical services will be contacted and provided, should they become necessary. 

viii. Campus procedures for contacting emergency medical services. 

c) Supervisors or their designees shall receive training on the following topics prior to being assigned to supervise outdoor employees: 

i. Information as detailed above in employee training requirements. 

ii. Procedures the supervisor must follow to implement the provisions of this program. 

iii. Procedures the supervisor must follow when an employee exhibits symptoms consistent with possible heat illness, including emergency response. 

d) Safety Department

i. Provide training to all employees and their supervisors to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses and the steps to take when they appear.

ii. Training shall be provided annually prior to the start of the summer heat.

e) Records

i. All training records will be maintained by the Safety Department for a minimum of 5 years.