Working in the Heat

When is hot too hot?

Legislation is not always specific about the acceptable range for temperature conditions at work, especially when working outdoors. In some cases, for specific circumstances, the Threshold Limit Values for heat stress from the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists have been formally adopted as occupational exposure limits in some jurisdictions, while others use them as guidelines.

Employers can take measures to protect workers from heat stress disorders by avoiding heavy exertion tasks, extreme heat, sun exposure, and high humidity when possible.

As the temperature or heat burden increases, workers may feel:

Heat exhaustion

Move to a cooler, shaded location.
Remove as much clothing as possible (including socks and shoes).
Cool down by applying cool wet cloths or ice to the head, face or neck. Spray with cool water.
Drink water, clear juice or a sports drink.
Provide medical aid if the person does not start to feel better.
Stay with the person until help arrives.

Heat stroke

Call 911 immediately

This is a medical emergency. Stay with the person until help arrives.