Heat rash occurs when sweat is unable to evaporate from the skin and blocks sweat glands. Flame retardant clothing is thick and does not allow sweat to evaporate, making heat rash likely for workers wearing them.
Heat cramps occurs when muscles in the body are depleted of necessary salts, causing cramps and spasms. The body loses necessary salts and fluids through sweating.
Heat exhaustion occurs when a person experiences symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and headache due to a large loss of fluids.
Heat stroke occurs when a person's body temperature rises so rapidly and high that the body cannot cool itself down. A symptom is hot and dry skin, and medical attention is required.
Reducing the Threat of Heat Stress
Workers are able to gradually adjust to performing in heat. New employees and employees who have been off work for a period of time need to be gradually exposed to hot working environments. Gradual exposure allows the body to get used to the warm working environment.
When working in warm environments, the body needs time to rest and cool down. Take a break in an air conditioned building or in the shade. Drinking lots of water reduces the chance of heat stress and keeps the body hydrated. Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks as they do not hydrate the body.