With the advent of the hot summer months, the Department of Environmental Health and Safety shares the below safety tips on heat stress prevention as temperatures rise.
In accordance with CAL OSHA, all supervisors must adhere to heat illness prevention requirements, continuously check weather conditions, ensure employees review proper heat protocols, and know how to recognize the symptoms of heat illness.
Know the Signs of Heat Illness
- Learn the warning signs of heat-related illness.
- Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: headache, dizziness or fainting; weakness and wet skin; irritability or confusion; thirst, nausea, or vomiting.
- Symptoms of heat stroke include: confusion or inability to think clearly; fainting, collapsing, or seizures; may stop sweating.
- If you recognize symptoms in yourself or coworkers, tell your supervisor immediately as you may need medical attention.
- If a worker is suffering from heat illness: call 911, followed by a call to DPS at 310.338.2983. Move the individual to a shaded area, remove outer clothing, fan and mist them with water, and apply ice bags or towels. Provide cool drinking water, if they are able to drink.
- If you work outdoors, by law, your employer must provide: enough cool, fresh drinking water throughout the day; access to shade or an equally cool spot; training on how to prevent heat illness and call for emergency help.
- Drink plenty of water – at least 8 ounces every 15 minutes. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty, as that’s a sign your body is already dehydrated.
- Avoid sugary, caffeinated, and alcoholic drinks, as they cause you to lose body fluid.
- Replace salt and minerals, which are lost with heavy sweating.
Supervisors should ensure employees watch this video from CAL OSHA on heat illness prevention, and share with them the “Protect Yourself from Heat Illness” Pocket Guide (includes both English & Spanish).
For more information, review the tips below and visit the CDC’s website on extreme heat tips and FAQs.
- Wear lightweight, loose, light-colored clothing
- Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home doesn’t have A/C, spend time at the mall, public library, or movie theater.
- Limit outdoor activities to the early morning or evening hours, and pace yourself with exertion. Rest often in the shade.
- Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and stay hydrated. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat when going outside.
- Never leave children or pets in parked cars, even if the windows are down.
- If you are feeling the effects of heat illness, take a cool shower or bath.
- Monitor those at high risk of heat illness, including: infants and young children, adults ages 65+, and those who are overweight, overexert during work or exercise, and those who are physically ill.
- Keep your pets hydrated, too! Provide plenty of fresh water, and leave the water in a shaded area.
If you are on campus during a heat wave, remember to remind children, students, faculty and staff, contractors, and guests to stay hydrated and rest in shaded areas as needed.
If you have an on-campus emergency, dial 911 followed by an immediate call to DPS at 310.338.2893, so that DPS officers may clear the way for an LAFD response.
For air conditioning related issues, please contact the Facilities Management Help Desk at 310.338.2761. You may also reach out to Environmental Health & Safety at 310.338.1932 for questions or concerns.