Heat Stress Environments

Any process or job site that is likely to raise the workers deep core temperature (often listed as higher than 100.4 degrees F (38°C)) raises the risk of heat stress. Operations involving high air temperatures, radiant heat sources, high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous physical activities have a high potential for inducing heat stress in employees.

Examples of Industrial Indoor Locations Where Problems can Occur

  • Foundries
  • Brick-Firing and Ceramic Plants
  • Glass producing facilities
  • Factories that produce rubber
  • Electrical Utilities (boiler rooms)
  • Bakeries
  • Confectioneries
  • Commercial kitchens
  • Laundries
  • Food Canneries
  • Chemical Plants
  • Mining Sites
  • Smelters
  • Steam Tunnels

Outdoor Operations Usually Conducted in Hot Weather

  • Construction
  • Refining
  • Asbestos Removal
  • Hazardous Waste site activities
  • Emergency Response Operations (particularly those where the requirement is to wear semi-permeable or protective clothing that is impermeable)

Factors that Affect a Person’s Sensitivity to Heat

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Degree of Physical Fitness
  • Degree of Acclimatization
  • Metabolism
  • Dehydration
  • Usage of alcohol or drugs
  • Medical Conditions (hypertension)

Additionally, consideration must be paid to the type of clothing being worn. Susceptibility is different for each individual. A history of heat injury could make a person inclined to additional injury. Aside from just ambient air temperature, radiant heat, air movement, conduction, and relative humidity are all environmental factors that will alter an individual’s response to heat.

Best Practices for Measuring Environmental Conditions

For more information, visit osha.gov.

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