Protecting yourself from heat stress is crucial, especially since it can lead to heat stroke, which can prove to be deadly.
One way workers at risk of heat stress can protect themselves is through acclimatization. Acclimatization naturally occurs when the body gets used to being in the heat and becomes better able to cool itself down. This means that your heart becomes more efficient and you’ll start sweating sooner. This is why workers who are new to a job take longer to acclimate to the heat than workers who are used to working in the heat.
Taking a proactive approach to managing heat stress through environmental controls is crucial. There are several things a worker can do to protect themselves while they are on the job:
- As permitted by the job task, wear light, breathable clothing such as cotton or other sweat-wicking materials
- Wear sunscreen if working outdoors
- Drink at least one cup of water ever 20-30 minutes, even if you do not feel thirsty
- Avoid caffeinated beverages
- Eat small, light meals
- Ensure scheduled breaks are taken
- If you are on any medications, ask your doctor if it will affect your heat tolerance
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle in terms of diet, exercise and body weight
- Be able to recognize the symptoms of heat stress