Keep It Cool: Protecting Your Staff and Volunteers from Heat Stress

Aug. 13, 2014 – During the summer months, there is a larger likelihood that your staff and volunteers may be exposed to hot work environments. In such conditions, individuals can be susceptible to heat stress, which can result in one of the following:

  • Heat Stroke – when the body is unable to control its temperature;
  • Heat Exhaustion – the body’s response to an extreme loss of water and salt;
  • Heat Syncope – fainting or dizziness that usually occurs from prolonged standing or a 
    sudden rise from a sitting position;
  • Heat Cramps – common for individuals who sweat a lot during physical activity; or
  • Heat Rash – a skin irritation that is caused by excessive sweating.

With such serious health risks that correspond with hot work environments, it is important for your organization to take measures in protecting staff and volunteers. In order to do so, consider the following steps:

  • Limit the amount of physical demands of staff and volunteers;
  • Assign extra workers for the more demanding activities;
  • Provide plenty of cold water for workers;
  • Offer rest periods and water breaks; and
  • Provide heat stress training and education that includes information on risk, prevention, symptoms, treatment and personal protective equipment.

More recommendations for employers can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. You also can read more about each type of heat stress, and what First Aid treatments are best for heat stress.

Summer working conditions can be hot! Keep your staff and volunteers cool, and protect them from these possibilities.

© 2019 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved.This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.