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Working in a hot environment can cause the body to overheat, this is 'heat stress'. Heat exhaustion can result if fluids are not taken to replace those lost by sweating. In the extreme, heatstroke may occur, and this condition can be fatal.
Precautions should be taken and work regimes adjusted to ensure that deep body temperature is maintained within its required operating range.
Control of Body Heat
Things that contribute to increase the body temperature include, metabolism (the processing of food etc generates heat), exercise (during which heat is generated in the muscle tissue), ambient air temperature, radiation from the sun and any hot objects in the vicinity, flames, etc.
Working in a Hot Environment
If you are required to work in a hot environment, like in the furnace area of a steelworks or glassworks, in a boiler house, or have to weld on, or in, a preheated vessel, for example, you must take steps to prevent your deep body temperature from rising dangerously high.
Symptoms of Heat Stress
The human body only functions properly if the temperature deep within it is maintained between about 37 and 38°C. Heat stress on the body occurs when the deep body temperature rises above about 38°C. The consequences of heat stress can be serious and, even, fatal.
Some of these have been mentioned in the preceding text, but will be reiterated here, as they are important. If working in hot and particularly humid conditions you should:- Use fans or other forced air ventilation to aid cooling.
- Work in short periods followed by longer rest periods.
- Transfer casualty to a cool place.
- Remove any heavy, restrictive clothing.
- Give plenty of fluid, to be taken in sips.
- Transfer casualty to a cool place and remove clothing.
- Always seek medical advice, heat stroke can kill!