Heat is Very Dangerous
by David Jones, Director of Safety and Health
It is that time of year again, when the temperatures rise, and the potential for heat related illnesses become a factor of your employment. Exposure to heat can cause illness and even death. It’s important that know the symptoms of heat stress and how to protect yourself from excessive heat.
What is Heat Stress?
Workers, who are exposed to high heat environments, can be at risk for occupational stresses such as heat stress. Heat stress occurs when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it can get rid of.
Types of Heat Stress include cramps, exhaustion, heat rash, heat syncope and stroke.
The following symptoms are associated with Heat Stress: chills, clammy skin, cramps, dizziness, elevated temperature, extreme weakness, fatigue, headache, heavy sweating or hot dry skin, nausea, pale complexion and slurred speech.
Heat stress can be avoided by drinking plenty of water (eight ounces of water for every 20 minutes of work in excessive heat), cooling the body with water or by fanning and moving to shaded/ cool areas. In the event of a medical emergency call 911.
It is imperative that you educate yourself and your fellow co-workers about working in the heat. Additionally, you can download an App (android or ios) from nalc.org, nalcbranch1100.org or from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This App can, at the user discretion, obtain weather-related data directly from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) based on the user’s current location (for GPS-enabled phones). The App can be useful to monitor the Heat Index and threat levels, so that you can take necessary precautions. The App can also be used to review signs and symptoms of Heat Stress and provide first aid.
All letter carriers should know the signs of Heat Stress and understanding how it affects your health and safety.
Remember to stay cool and safe this summer season.