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August 2, 2021
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Heat Related Illnesses – Water, Rest, Shade


Hydration is essential for preventing heat-related illness such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion. The symptoms associated with heat stroke include confusion, loss of consciousness, and seizures.

The symptoms associated with heat exhaustion include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, confusion, thirst, and heavy sweating. Immediately seek medical attention if you or your coworker experience these symptoms.

If you are working two hours or more it is important to consume fluids with electrolytes (e.g., sports drinks, electrolyte infused water, coconut water, etc.). People lose salt and other electrolytes when they sweat. Substantial loss of electrolytes can cause muscle cramps and other dangerous health problems.

For shorter jobs, cool potable water is sufficient. Drink at least one cup (8 ounces) of water every 20 minutes while working in the heat.


The length and frequency of rest breaks should increase as heat stress rises. Breaks should last long enough for you to recover from the heat.

The length of the break depends on environmental heat, as well as your physical activity level and personal risk factors. The location of the breaks also matters.

If you rest in a cooler location, you will be ready to resume work more quickly. Breaks should last longer if there is no cool location available. In hot conditions, skipping breaks is not safe. Make sure you rest during all recommended break periods.


When working outdoors rest in a shady area, an air-conditioned vehicle, a nearby building or tent, or an area with fans and misting devices.

When working indoors, you should rest in a cool or air-conditioned area away from heat sources such as ovens, boilers, and furnaces.



Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Port Clinton, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;



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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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