June 24, 2021

Taking Precautions in Extreme Heat

Working in moderate to extreme heat, especially outdoors, can pose significant risks to worker health based on age, fitness, type of work, personal tolerance, and other factors. OSHA provides guidelines for risk levels based on the NWS heat index chart, a measure of perceived heat that combines temperature and humidity.

Heat Index Chart

Some commonsense precautions for working in the heat include:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking around 32 oz/1 L of water per hour
  • Take more frequent breaks in the shade or a cool indoor space
  • Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day
  • Wear light-colored, breathable clothing when possible
  • Eat less at meals and avoid caffeine
  • Consult a healthcare provider with any concerns about medications
  • Monitor yourself and others for symptoms of heat illness (headache, dizziness, nausea)