OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor

Process: Surface Preparation and Preservation


Overexertion: Problems and Solutions


Illustraton of workers insides structures

Workers inside structures assigned to paint new ship assembly units are often at increased risk of thermal stress due to heat accumulating in the upper areas of the building.






Illustration of workers painting an exterior hull

Photo of typical protective clothing worn by workers

Photo of typical protective clothing worn by workers

Workers painting an exterior hull may have an increased risk of thermal stress from exposure to direct sun or job site areas in which solar heat can be trapped.

Protective equipment and clothing may create further thermal stress, since body heat cannot escape.








Cooling vests are available in a range of styles. This option can help minimize heat buildup during peak activity.

Photo of an example of a cooling vest

Photo of an example of a cooling vest

Photo of worker in air-conditioned respirator

Additional products, such as air-conditioned respirators, are available that cool the air entering a supplied-air respirator. Using a loose-fitting hood can help to cool the head, face, and upper torso regions. The photo at right shows a vortex cooler. Other technologies exist that can chill greater amounts of air.


Sufficient consumption of water, such as during rest cycles, is critical to avoiding thermal stress.

Photo of water bottles

Rotation & Work/Rest Cycles

Frequent rotation of tasks to allow workers recovery time from high thermal stress.

Illustration of rotation and work/rest cycles - Job A: Hotter - Job B: Cooler - Worker rotation during shift


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