Protect Employees from Summer Heat

Summer heat can cause serious problems for workers. Our bodies build up heat when working and then sweat to maintain a "normal" body temperature. Sometimes our bodies aren't able to keep up with extreme summer heat, causing serious health problems.

Too much heat can do more than hurt job performance -- it can actually increase your employees' risk of injury. Intense heat can cause dehydration, cramps, heat exhaustion or stroke.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend the following to protect workers from injury during extreme summer heat:

  • Drink plenty of cool water all day -- one cup every 15 minutes.
  • Eat a smaller meal before work activity.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar.
  • Take rest breaks, preferably in a cool shady spot, and use fans.
  • When working outside, work in shady areas if possible.
  • Wear light-colored clothing made of cotton.
  • Check with a health care provider if medications might have adverse side effects when taken in combination with the heat.
  • If employees work in protective clothing, allow more rest breaks. They may also have to check their temperature and heart rate. EPA suggests a health professional monitor body weight, temperature and heart rate when the outside work site temperature is 70 degrees or higher.