What Can Happen to You
On hot days you can easily dehydrate, become very sick, collapse, and possibly die. Do you work outside around the house in the heat doing yard work, cleaning up, or doing chores? If so, just like at home, when working outside in the heat in construction you can get heat illness when your body is not able to get rid of too much heat.
Types of Heat Illness (HI) and Common Symptoms - HI can develop very fast and may not be obvious before it becomes deadly (especially during a heat wave). HI symptoms vary between people so make sure you know the symptoms.
- Weakness, tiredness, mental confusion
- Irritable or strange behavior
Heat illness can be various serious medical conditions. Specific Symptoms:
- Heat Exhaustion
- Heat Cramps
- Heat Rash
"A young employee was working on a rooftop when he started to feel weak and act confused. Immediately, 911 was called and he was removed from the roof and sprayed with water. His body temperature was 106.7 degrees and he had bad damage to his organs. He survived the heatstroke because his co-workers recognized the symptoms of heat stroke and took quick action".
How to Keep Yourself Safe
You are responsible for following the training and safe work practices of your teachers and employers.
Do not be afraid to ask questions. If you don't know or you're not sure, ask your teacher or foreman before starting work.
- Heat illness symptoms, and prevention (for example how to get used to working in the heat - called Acclimatization), and emergency procedures.
- Your rights - your teacher or employer must have a written program to protect you from heat illness.
- Drinking Enough Water - 4, 8 ounce glasses per hour for the entire work shift.
- Always Taking Your Breaks in a Cool Shaded Area to allow your body to cool.
- Using a "Buddy system" - notice HI symptoms and strange behavior in your co-workers.
- Getting Help - if you or a friend feels bad or acts strange report it immediately.
- Not Drinking Alcohol, caffeine, and beverages with sugar because they dehydrate your body.
- Paying Attention to The Weather - during heat waves you can get sicker faster and may need extra measures.
- Wearing Light Colored, Loose Clothing - that protects you from the sun but allows airflow to your body.
- Checking With Your Doctor Before Taking Medicines.
3. Make Good Choices
- If you feel any discomfort or symptoms, or see anything unsafe, report it right away to your teacher, foreman or a family member.
For more information on how to keep yourself safe, read Best Practices, Training Topics for Teachers and Employers.
Cal/OSHA Consultation Service Heat Illness Prevention eTool: www.dir.ca.gov/DOSH/etools/08-006/index.htm.
Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Resources: www.dir.ca.gov/DOSH/HeatIllnessInfo.html.
Cal/OSHA regulation on Heat Illness Prevention: www.dir.ca.gov/title8/3395.html.