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Agricultural Safety Topic - Heat Stress

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Objective: To be able to identify symptoms of heat stroke and exhaustion and recognize emergency procedures for both. Background: Heat stress is a buildup of body heat generated either internally by muscle use or externally by the environment. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke result when the body is overwhelmed by heat. As the heat increases, core body temperature rises and the heart rate increases. As the body temperature increases, it tries to cool itself through the evaporation of sweat. As the body temperature rises above 38 degrees C, sweating can become compromised, based on many factors such as: air temperature outside the body; relative humidity; type of clothing worn; personal factors such as age/gender/medications/hydration levels; and acclimatisation. During hot weather, heat illness may be an underlying cause of other types of injuries such as heart attacks, falls and equipment accidents. The most serious heat related illness is heat stroke. The symptoms are confusion, irrational behavior, convulsions, coma, and death. In some cases, the side effects of heat stroke are heat sensitivity and varying degrees of brain and kidney damage. Preventing heat stress will: Protect Health – Heat illness is preventable and treatable before it is life threatening. Improve Safety – Any heat stress can impair functioning. Increase Productivity – People work slower and less efficiently when they are suffering from heat stress. Employers, supervisors and workers all have an essential role to play in preventing heat stress. Each member of the team should use good judgment to prevent heat related illness. A heat stress control program should protect all workers at the operation, from those who can work comfortably in heat to those in poor physical shape. AGRICULTURAL SAFETY TOPICS HEAT STRESS

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