Heat Illness Prevention Campaign Every year, thousands of workers across the country suffer from serious heat-related illnesses. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which has killed - on average - more than 30 workers annually since 2003. Labor-intensive activities in hot weather can raise body temperatures beyond the level that normally can be cooled by sweating. Heat illness initially may manifest as heat rash or heat cramps. It quickly can become heat exhaustion and then heat stroke if simple prevention steps are not followed. This "stand-down" is intended for all those who work in hot weather, such as workers in agriculture, construction, baggage handling, roofing and landscaping, and others who work outdoors. It is the employer's responsibility to protect workers from injury and illness. 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. 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? Training and Outreach Services 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. Additional information about heat stress can also be accessed through a heat stress podcast from the NC Department of Labor. 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. In addition, the pre-recorded webinar on heat stress can be useful in providing employee training. The NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). Scheduled Webinars Heat Stress webinars are offered frequently during the summer months. You can register for our courses by visiting the OSH Training Calendar. Safety and Health Programs In addition, the example (agricultural) heat stress prevention program and heat illness prevention program can assist employers in developing their heat stress program. Consultation Services The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.