Heat Stress – Heat Related Illnesses


Heat Stress ~ Heat Exhaustion vs Heat Stroke

Spring has sprung and we are enjoying 80-degree days in May.  With that said, we need to be aware of heat stress. 

What is Heat Stress?

When the body is unable to cool itself by sweating, several heat-induced illnesses such

as  heat exhaustion and the more severe heat stroke can occur.

What is the difference between Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke?

Heat Exhaustion – is a heat related illness that can happen after  having been exposed to high temperatures, in combination with high humidity during physical activity.  Heat Stroke is a life threatening condition which occurs when the body’s ability to regulate it’s temperature fails and the body temperature rises to critical levels, and can possibly lead to death.


How can I prevent heat-related illnesses?


  • Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.heat stress
  • Rest in the shade to cool down.
  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
  • Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
  • Keep an eye on fellow workers.
  • Acclimate – “easy does it” on your first days of work; be sure to get used to the heat and allow yourself to build up a tolerance. Not being used to the heat is a big problem.  Many of the people who died from heat stress were either new to working in the heat or returning from a break.  If a worker has not worked in hot weather for a week or more, their body needs time to adjust.

If you or a coworker has symptoms of heat-related illness, tell your supervisor right away.  If you can, move the person to a shaded area loosen his/her clothing, give him/her water (a little at a time), and cool him/her down with ice packs or cool water.

More resources are available on OSHA’s website in English and Spanish and even an app to download to your phone to calculate the heat index and provide recommendations based on your risk level.  Check out www.osha.gov/heat for training and other educational resources.


Additional resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Johns Hopkins Medicine


SCS Safety Health & Security LLC works with businesses to help keep their employees safe, lower workers compensation and fleet / auto insurance policy premiums.  In addition they help to get a company safety compliant by conducting job site safety inspections, developing written safety programs, and conducting safety meetings.  In addition they offer OSHA 10 and 30 hr courses, for the construction industry.  If your employees need CPR/AED, Basic First Aid, and or Bloodborne Pathogen certification, they can handle that too.  Check out their monthly CPR/AED and Basic First Aid Classes in the Leesburg VA area.


To discuss arranging safety meetings, training for your team, or any of their other services, reach out to Stacy via email at [email protected] or by phone at (703) 779-7330.  We are your partner in safety and here to help.