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Heat is a common issue in many workplaces, whether it is from direct sun exposure or operating equipment indoors in a hot surrounding, heat can easily make you sick and in some cases, even kill you. Heat exposure, exhaustion and even heat stroke can come suddenly and without warning.
How Heat is a Hazard
Heat is a by-product of action. When you're working your body generates energy which is turned into heat. The body will always try to get rid of this excess heat and stabilize your internal temperature, but when the body struggles, it begins to sweat.
Heat Exposure & Response
The environment you work in will directly affect your exposure to heat. If you work in a foundry, or around hot equipment, you could be in danger. It is not only hot sun which causes heat exhaustion. The clothing you wear will also affect your body's ability to regulate its temperature. Slurred speech, irritability and confusion are all early warning signs of heat exhaustion.
Heat exposure can be completely preventable. A proper inspection of your work environment and the tasks at hand should give you and idea of where you need to be cautious and what to be concerned with. Always have an action plan in place and plenty of water on hand. You might also want to rotate tasks, so one worker doesn't stay in a dangerous environment. Taking breaks will also help limit heat exposure.
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