Heat Stress

Heat Stress

Hazard Overview

Hazard Overview

What is heat stress?

Heat stress is the inability of the body to rid itself of excess heat as the result of working in a hot environment, especially when humidity levels are high.

What are the hazards associated with heat stress?

Excessive exposure to heat can cause a range of heat-related illnesses, from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.

Solutions

Solutions

What can I do to protect myself?

Avoid heavy exertion, extreme heat, sun exposure, and high humidity when possible. When these cannot be avoided, some of the preventative steps that can be taken include:

  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton.

  • Schedule heavy work during the coolest parts of day.

  • Take more breaks when doing heavier work, and in high heat and humidity; take breaks in the shade or a cool area.

  • Drink water frequently.

  • Be aware that protective clothing or personal protective equipment may increase the risk of heat-related illnesses.

What resources are available to assist employers?

A heat stress presentation is available to assist employers in training their staff. The presentation should be modified to address site-specific conditions and hazards.

In addition, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). The education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request.

 

 

Regulations

Regulations

Which standards apply?

There are no OSHA or N.C. occupational safety and health standards for heat. In certain circumanstances, heat-related hazards may be cited using N.C. General Statute 95-129(1), commonly referred to as the “General Duty Clause.”

Learn More

Learn More

Where can I learn more?

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov or by calling 919-707-7876.