Heat Illness Prevention
Information for Workers
Federal law entitles you to a safe workplace. Exposure to heat can cause illness and death. Workers should know their rights and what they can do to prevent heat illness.
Your Rights at Work
When it comes to extreme heat at work, you have the right to:
- Speak up about hazards without fear of retaliation. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit www.whistleblowers.gov.
- Request an OSHA inspection and speak to OSHA inspectors.
- Report an injury or illness, and review and get copies of your medical records from your employer.
- See the results of workplace examinations or tests taken to identify workplace hazards.
Tips for preventing heat illness
Heat-related illnesses can be prevented.
- Hydrate before, during and after work. Drink 1 cup of cool water every 20 minutes even if you aren’t thirsty. For longer jobs, drinks with electrolytes are best. Avoid energy drinks and alcohol.
- Find shade or a cool area for rest breaks that allow your body to recover.
- Dress for the heat. A hat and light-colored, loose-fitting (where allowed), breathable clothing are ideal.
- If wearing a face covering, change it if it becomes wet or soiled. Check on others verbally often.
- Not everyone tolerates heat the same way. Understand personal risk factors.
- Understanding engineering controls, work practices, and PPE.
Know the signs of heat illness and how to respond
Abnormal thinking or behavior, slurred speech, seizures or loss of consciousness are signs of a medical emergency. Call 911 immediately, cool the worker with water or ice and stay with them until help arrives.
- Heat illness can cause:
- Weakness or dizziness
- Heavy sweating or hot, dry skin
- Elevated body temperature
- Decreased urine output
- If you spot someone experiencing the signs above, take action:
- Give them water to drink
- Move them to a cooler area
- Cool them with water, ice or a fan
- Remove unnecessary clothing
- Do not them leave alone
- If in doubt, call 911 or seek medical care
- Get more tips on first aid so you can be prepared in the event of an emergency.