Heat stress disorders occur when your body is put under stress from overheating. Use Ergodyne Chill-Its to help stop heat stress before it starts.
Heat Stress can be dangerous for outdoor workers, especially when certain precautions are ignored. Luckily, Ergodyne Chill-Its provide an easy way to beat the heat, while staying productive. Read on to learn more about how these unique cooling products can make your work easier this summer.
What is Heat Stress?
Heat stress is a set of conditions where the body and its cooling system are under stress from overheating. Heat stress occurs when the body's means of controlling its internal temperature starts to fail. High temperatures, humidity, heavy workloads, decreased air movement, lack of shading from direct heat and the type of clothing worn are all significant factors that induce heat stress.
Workers at greater risk of heat stress include those who are over age 65, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat.
Washington, Minnesota, and California have specific laws governing occupational heat exposure. Federal OSHA has a General Duty Clause that requires employers to provide a place of employment that is "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees."
Symptoms of Heat Stress Disorders
- Heat Cramps - Symptoms are painful spasms of the muscles. Heat cramps are caused when workers consume large quantities of water but fail to take in enough salt to replace the salt their body lost through sweating. Tired muscles are most susceptible to cramping.
- Heat Exhaustion - Symptoms for this disorder are moist, clammy, pale skin; profuse sweating; extreme weakness or fatigue; dry mouth; dizziness; fast pulse; rapid breathing; muscle cramps and nausea.
- Heat/Sun Stroke - Symptoms are a very high body temperature (104°F or higher); lack of sweat; mental confusion, delirium, or hallucinations; deep breathing and rapid pulse; hot, dry, red or mottled skin; and dilated pupils. Seek medical help at once for this condition.
Tips for Preventing Heat Stress Disorders
Heat exposures may be reduced via several methods. A few of which are listed below.
- Control the heat at its source through the use of insulating and reflective barriers
- Exhaust hot air and steam produced by operations
- Reduce the temperature and humidity through air cooling
- Provide air-conditioned rest areas
- Use Ergodyne Shax Work Shelters and Umbrellas to provide shaded work areas
- Increase air movement if temperature is less than 95°F with fans
- Reduce physical demands of work tasks through mechanical assistance.
- Provide cool drinking water/electrolyte drinks
- Assess the demands of all jobs and have monitoring and control strategies in place for hot days and hot workplaces
- Increase the frequency and length of rest breaks
- Schedule strenuous jobs to cooler times of the day
- Caution workers to avoid direct sunlight (when possible)
- Assign additional workers or slow down the pace of work
- Consider job rotation to keep workers fresh
- Make sure everyone is properly acclimatized
- Train workers to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stress and start a "buddy system" since people are not likely to notice their own symptoms
- Pregnant workers and workers with a medical condition should discuss working in the heat with their doctor.
- An emergency response plan should be in place in the event of a heat-related illness
- Investigate any heat-related incidents
Personal Protective Equipment
- Light summer clothing should be worn to allow free air movement and sweat evaporation
- In outdoor situations where heat is radiating off the pavement, Ergodyne Reflective and Ergodyne Chill-Its Cooling Clothing may help
- For extreme heat environments and extended exposure to warm temperatures, consider Ergodyne Chill-Its Cooling Vests
- Vapor barrier clothing, such as chemical protective clothing, greatly increases the amount of heat stress on the body, so extra caution is necessary when wearing
- Ergodyne Chill-Its Cooling Wraps and Bandanas can draw excess heat off your neck and head area
- Use the Ergodyne Chill-Its 6602MF Evaporative Microfiber Cooling Towel to wick away sweat
Heat stress disorders are serious. Humans have an ingenious system for regulating body temperature-a personal, "natural" air conditioner. We sweat, it evaporates through our skin, and we're cooled off. But this personal air conditioner can fail, and often does if we overexert when environmental temperatures are high.
Why Use Ergodyne Chill-Its?
Ergodyne Chill-Its are a line of heat stress products that utilize moisture wicking technology that enable evaporative cooling to provide instant cooling relief. This line of cooling products includes cooling towels, hats, headbands, gaiters, hard hat accessories, vests, and arm sleeves.
Many of the Chill-Its products are made with a PVA material that is super evaporative, quickly activates, and lasts several hours to ensure heat stress stays on ice. They are also easy to activate: simply soak in water and apply. No matter what task you need to tackle outside, the Ergodyne Chill-Its will help you stay cool and safe.
Know the signs and symptoms of heat stress disorders and act quickly. And use Ergodyne Chill-Its to beat the heat! You can shop from our full line of Ergodyne Chill-Its here.