HEAT ILLNESS CAN BE DEADLY
Common Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Sweaty Skin Weakness
Fast Heart Beat
Common Symptoms of Heat Stroke
Red, hot, and High Temperature
Confusion Convulsions Fainting
The body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating isn't enough. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels if you don't drink enough water and rest in the shade. You can suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
In 2014 alone, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illness and 18 died from heat stroke and related causes on the job. Heat illnesses and deaths are preventable.
Commanders, Commanding Officers, OICs, Directors, Supervisors must protect personnel from excessive heat.
Under Department of Navy, Marine Corps policies as well as OSHA law, Commanders are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety hazards and protecting the readiness of personnel. This includes protecting personnel from extreme heat. A commander with personnel exposed to high temperatures should establish a complete heat illness prevention program.
- Provide personnel with water, rest and shade.
- Allow new or returning personnel to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they acclimatize, or build a tolerance for working in the heat.
- Plan for emergencies and train personnel on prevention.
- Monitor personnel for signs of illness.
To prevent heat related illness and fatalities:
- Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
- Rest in the shade to cool down.
- Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
- Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
- Keep an eye on fellow workers.
- "Easy does it" on your first days of work in the heat. You need to get used to it.
Working in full sunlight can increase heat index values by 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep this in mind and plan additional precautions for working in these conditions.
Who is affected?
Any person exposed to hot and humid conditions is at risk of heat illness, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky protective clothing and equipment. Some personnel might be at greater risk than others if they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions, including new personnel, temporary personnel, or those returning to work after a week or more off. All personnel are at risk during a heat wave.
Operations and industries most affected by heat-related illness are: physical and combat fitness training, training in combat gear, maintenance operations, CBIRF operations, construction; trade, transportation and utilities; agriculture; building, grounds maintenance; landscaping services; and support activities for oil and gas operations.
What to do if a person becomes ill?
- Call a supervisor for help. If a supervisor is not available, call 911 or on scene medical authority.
- Have someone stay with the Marine until help arrives.