Toolbox Talk: Heat Exhaustion & Sunstroke
Guide for Discussion:
When working during hot weather we may suffer heat exhaustion or sunstroke. Heat exhaustion is caused by the loss of body salt and sunstroke occurs when the body mechanism is not able to keep the system cool. Following are the symptoms of these ailments and the steps we should take to aid the victim.
Symptoms: The first signs of heat exhaustion are dizziness, weakness, headache, blurred vision, nausea and staggering. The face becomes pale, there is profuse sweating, the pulse is weak, and breathing is shallow. The person my become unconscious.
Treatment: When someone shows symptoms of heat exhaustion, immediately remove that person to a place where the air is curculating freely. Make the person lie down and keep him or her warm. If the victim is conscious, add a teaspoon of salt to a pint of cool water and give this to the victim in small sips at frequent intervals. If the heat exhaustion symptoms persist, call the doctor.
What to drink: Water is one of the best things to drink. Research also shows that a lightly flavored beverage with a small amount of sodium encourages people to drink enough to stay hydrated. The combination of flavor and electrolytes in a sports drink like Gatorade provides one of the best choices to help you stay properly hydrated.
How to Avoid: Keep in good physical condition and stop to rest when you begin to feel faint. Increase dietary salt and fluids when working in extremely hot weather.
SUNSTROKE (HEATSTROKE) Symptoms: The victim develops a severe headache, the face is red the skin is hot and dry, there is no sweating, and the pulse is very strong and very rapid. The person has a high fever ( 105°–106°F.) and may become unconscious. This is followed by convulsions, coma, and sometimes death.
Treatment: Get the victim to where there’s professional medical treatment as soon as possible. In the meantime place the individual in the shade. Loosen the clothing and cool the victim with the best means available. If the individual’s temperature starts to drop, cover with a light blanket so that the sudden change in body temperature won’t cause shivering or convulsions.
How to Avoid: Stay away from alcoholic beverages. Instead, drink water, lemonade, or citrus fruit juices. Wear clothing that is lightweight, well ventilated, and loose. Replace the body salt lost through perspiration by making sure your salt and fluid intake is adequate.
Know the Difference: Become familiar with the symptoms of sun-stroke and heat exhaustion. As we’ve discussed, the treatment for each of these ailments is different and knowing the differences could mean life or death.
Note: Always promote a discussion on any of the topics covered in the Construct Corps, LLC: Tool Box Talk. Should any question arise that you cannot answer, don’t hesitate to contact our OSHA authorized instructor:
Marcos Caballero phone: (813) 498-0659 email: MCaballero@ConstructCorps.com
About Construct Corps, LLC: Construct Corps is a skilled trades construction staffing company, providing qualified workers to commercial, industrial, and residential contractors. Offering superior service since 2000, Construct Corps believes there is a right way to do things and that mutual success is the byproduct of sound principles. Services are priced fairly and the best solution is recommended, even if it is not one offered by Construct Corps. Market data reports are available complimentary. Combine this with unique systems and processes that help insure a high staffing success rate, and Construct Corps is dispelling the myth that all construction staffing companies are the same.