Protect yourself against the heat

prevención de golpe de calor

In summer, the climatic conditions to which workers are exposed can be the cause of work accidents, some of them fatal. Heat stress due to high temperature, commonly known as heat stroke, is the heat load that workers receive and accumulate in their bodies and which results from the interaction between the environmental conditions of the place where they work, the physical activity they perform and the clothes they wear.

Exposure to heat can cause various health effects, of different severity, such as rash on the skin, edema of the extremities, burns, muscle cramps, dehydration, exhaustion, etc. But, undoubtedly, the most serious effect of exposure to situations of intense heat is heat stroke. When the so-called heat stroke occurs, the body temperature exceeds 40.6 ºC (105.08 ºF) , being mortal between 15% and 25% of cases.



Symptomatology of thermal sensation due to heat

Symptoms of a heat stroke

General Symotoms

Internal temperature higher than 40.6ºC (105.08 ºF)
Fast breathing
Nausea and vomiting
Cutaneous symptoms
Dry and hot skin
Absence of sweating
Sensorineural symptoms
Confusion and seizures
Loss of consciousness
Dilated pupils

General preventive measures

These measures are applicable to all work, in closed or outdoor places, where heat stress is usually caused by heat.

The employer must…
The employee must…
Inform and train workers about the risks, effects and preventive measures. Train them in the recognition of the first symptoms of the heat affections in themselves and their companions and in the application of first aid.
Inform your superiors if you are acclimated or not to heat; if you have ever had problems with the heat; chronic diseases that may suffer; if they are taking any medication.
Take care that all workers are acclimatized to the heat according to the physical effort they are going to make. Allow them to adapt the work rhythms to their tolerance to heat.
Adapt the work rate to your tolerance to heat.
Have resting places cool, covered or in the shade, and allow workers to rest when they need it and especially when they feel bad
Rest in cool places when they are very hot. If you feel bad, stop the activity and rest in a cool place until you recover, because continuing to work can be very dangerous. Avoid driving if you are not fully recovered.
Provide fresh water and instruct workers to drink it frequently.
Drink water frequently during work even if you are not thirsty. It is also necessary to continue drinking water when you are away from work.
Modify work processes to eliminate or reduce the emission of heat and humidity and excessive physical effort. Provide mechanical help to decrease the latter.
Avoid eating a lot and greasy foods; Eat fruit, vegetables, take salt with meals.
6 Reduce indoor temperature by favoring natural ventilation, using fans, air conditioning, etc.
Do not drink alcohol (beer, wine, etc) or drugs. Avoid drinks with caffeine (coffee, soft drinks, etc.) and also sugary drinks.
Organize work to reduce time or intensity of exposure: establish fixed breaks or better allow breaks according to the needs of the workers; adapt working hours to the heat of the sun; provide that the most effortful tasks are done in the hours of least heat; set rotations of workers, etc.
Go well rested to work. Shower and cool down after work.
Guarantee a specific health surveillance for workers, since if you have cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, diabetes, etc. problems. They are more sensitive to the effects of thermal stress.
Wear summer clothing, loose, fresh fabrics (cotton and linen) and light colors that reflect the radiant heat. Protect your head from the sun (better with wide-brimmed hats).


From the Management and the Safety and Health Department, we ask all employees to take preventive actions to eliminate the risk. And not only in summer, but in all those activities and places where heat and humidity are high due to the work process, climatic conditions and lack of means to reduce them.

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