PERSONAL MEASURES TO PREVENT HEAT STRESS: The best measure to take to prevent heat stress is to address it before it ever becomes a problem. Anticipate high-heat days through weather forecasts and prepare for them with proactive measures.
• Stay hydrated. Begin drinking fluids early in the day—waiting until the hottest portion of the day to replenish fluids is too late. Avoid caffeine and alcohol the night before and during the day.
• Dress for conditions. Lightweight, loose clothing is best. Avoid layering clothing underneath coveralls.
• A well-balanced diet will help. Heavy, fatty foods do not support the body well in high heat conditions. Fruits, vegetables, proteins, and starches work best.
• Electrolyte solutions help to maintain energy levels. Do not drink more electrolyte solution than water. Avoid taking salt tablets unless directed to do so by your physician. Increase dietary salt and fluids when working in extremely hot weather.
• Use sunscreen and cover your face and neck from the sun.
• Utilize shaded areas and water stations for mini-breaks.
• Monitor MDI several times a day and adjust work plans if index becomes excessive.
• The consumption of eight ounces of water every 20–30 minutes is recommended during peak heat-stress periods. Hourly fluid intake should not exceed 1.5 quarts and daily fluid intake should not exceed 12 quarts.
• A supply of drinking water is to be made available in the workplace. The water should be cool, clean, and palatable.
• When performing physical work in hot environments, sweat output often exceeds water intake, resulting in a body-water deficit (hypo hydration). Drinking the prescribed amounts of water and consuming a normal diet are critical for maintaining health while working in hot environments.
• Drinking electrolyte solutions may be effective for short-term electrolyte replacement, but is not a substitute for drinking the prescribed amount of water. Employees with medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, should seek advice from their doctor before taking electrolyte solutions as they may add unnecessary sugar and salt to the diet.
• Avoid taking salt tablets unless directed to do so by your physician.
• A good way to monitor body-fluid level is to weigh yourself every time you wake up after using the bathroom. Weighing two pounds less than normal is a good sign that you are dehydrated and need to drink more water. (A healthy weight loss is 2–3 pounds over a week, not two pounds overnight.)
• Caffeine and alcohol interfere with your body’s ability to control your temperature. Avoid consumption of caffeine and alcohol during periods of extreme heat.
• Under normal conditions, you can rely on thirst as an adequate indicator of the need for fluid intake. In conditions of heat stress, however, thirst alone is insufficient, and workers should maintain an awareness of other factors such as ambient temperature and humidity, amounts of fluids recently consumed, frequency, and volume of urination, and whether sweating is light or heavy.