Preparing for Summer Heat - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Preparing for Summer Heat

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The valley is sitting comfortably right now as the east coast gets pounded with record heat. However it wont be this way forever, as summer pushes on our turn to experience the heat isn't far away.

With numerous people working outdoors and being active during the summer months OSHA is out with warnings and guidelines to ensure people survive when the heat arrives.

OSHA advises: Extreme heat is not only uncomfortable…it can kill.  Last year, thousands of workers in the United States got sick from exposure to heat on the job, and more than 30 workers died. These illnesses and deaths were preventable.


Heat illness can be prevented. Remember these three things: water, rest, and shade.

  • WATER: Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink water. A good rule of thumb is to drink 4 cups of water every hour. It is best to drink a small amount of water every 15 minutes.
  • REST: Rest breaks help your body recover.
  • SHADE: Resting in the shade or in air-conditioning helps you cool down.


Here are some other ways you can prevent illness from the heat:

  • Report symptoms of heat illness right away.
  • Wear light-colored cotton clothing.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
  • Watch out for your coworkers.
  • Know where you are working in case you need to call 911.
While you are waiting for help…

You can help a co-worker in distress while you are waiting for help to arrive:
  • Move the worker to a cool, shady area.
  • Loosen the person's clothing.
  • Fan air on the worker.
  • Apply cool water or ice packs to his or her skin.
These simple steps could save a person's life.


It's important to know the signs of heat-related illness—acting quickly can save lives.

  • Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. Usually, when your body builds up heat, you sweat to get rid of the extra heat. With heat stroke, your body can't cool down. The symptoms include: confusion, fainting, seizures, very high body temperature and hot, dry skin or profuse sweating.  HEAT STROKE IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.  CALL 911 if a coworker shows any signs of heat stroke.
  • Heat exhaustion happens when your body loses too much water and salt through sweating. Symptoms may include: headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, thirst and heavy sweating.
  • Heat fatigue, heat cramps, and heat rash are less serious, but they are still signs of over exposure to heat.

If you feel any of the symptoms of heat-related illness, or you see a coworker in distress, tell your supervisor right away.

OSHA CAN HELP. This year, OSHA and its State Plan partners have launched a nationwide campaign to raise employer and worker awareness of the dangers of heat and how to protect workers. Visit www.osha.gov for worker fact sheets, worksite posters, and other resources on preventing heat illness, in both English and Spanish. If you have questions, call OSHA. It's confidential. Call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit www.osha.gov to learn more about heat illness.

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