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Heat Illness Prevention


What is Heat Illness?

Heat illness can cause serious health risks and may even be fatal. Therefore, it is critically important that you are able to recognize the associated signs and symptoms. Heat illness can occur when there is excess heat buildup in the body, which can arise through physical exertion as well as from hot and humid weather. This can place abnormal stress on the body that can result in one or more medical conditions.

Identifying Heat Illness:
  • I.
    Heat Cramps
    Heat cramps affect people who sweat excessively during strenuous work activity. Sweating depletes the body’s salt and fluids. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps.
  • II.
    Heat Syncope
    Heat syncope or fainting can be caused by a lack of adequate blood supply to the brain, usually as the result of dehydration and lack of acclimatization to work in warm, humid weather.
  • III.
    Heat Exhaustion
    Heat exhaustion is caused by a loss of fluids from sweating and or a lack of drinking proper fluids. Symptoms include, but are not limited to sweating, cool or clammy, skin weakness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, fast or weak pulse, and or fast or slow breathing.
  • IV.
    Heat Stroke
    Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency that occurs when the body overheats to a point where its internal temperature control system shuts down and heat builds up internally. The signs of impending heat stroke are altered behavior, convulsions, unconsciousness, and usually a lack of sweating. Should these symptoms occur, seek medical assistance immediately.

Recognizing Heat Illness

How can you recognize heat illness? There are a number of potential symptoms, including:

  • Discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Fainting
  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Muscle pain or cramps
  • Lack of sweating or excessive sweating
  • Altered behavior

Note early heat illness signs and symptoms may not always follow a progressive pattern like going from a mild condition such as heat rash up to the life-threatening condition of heat stroke. Thirst alone is a poor indicator of how the body is reacting to heat. It’s important that you immediately report, either directly to your employer or through your supervisor, any signs, or symptoms of heat illness that you experience or observe in your coworkers.

Heat Illness Risk Factors:

  • I.
    Environmental Risk Factors
    Environmental risk factors for heat illness means working in conditions that create the possibility that heat illness could occur, including air temperature, relative humidity, radiant heat from the sun, and other sources. Conductive heat sources such as the ground air movement, workload severity and duration, along with protective clothing and personal protective equipment.
  • II.
    Personal Risk Factors
    Personal risk factors for heat illness mean factors such as an individual’s age, the degree of their acclimatization, the individual’s health, how much water they’ve been drinking, alcohol and or caffeine consumption and use of certain prescription medications that affect the body’s water retention, or other physiological responses to heat.

You should consult with a doctor if you have risk factors for heat illness.

Prevention Procedures:

  • I.
    This period of adjustment, called acclimatization, is a temporary adaptation of the body to work in the heat that occurs gradually with exposure. Acclimatization peaks in most people within four to 14 days of regular work for at least 2 hours per day in the heat. During this acclimatization period. You should be aware that acclimatization to the heat can take several days. Report to a supervisor if returning to work after an absence or illness or when changing from a cool to a hot and or humid climate and start work slowly and increase the pace gradually during a heat wave.
  • II.
    Dehydration occurs quickly no matter how well one is acclimatized to the heat. The average person loses between one and two quarts of fluid an hour in perspiration during heavy exertion and hot weather. The only way to replace the loss and help the body continue to cool itself is to drink non caffeinated, nonalcoholic fluids; water is best. More specifically, frequently drink small quantities of water throughout the entire work shift. A minimum of one quart or four eight-ounce cups per hour is recommended. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water. Being thirsty is not a good signal for the need to hydrate. Drink water both before and afterwork and while on breaks.
  • III.
    Cool Down Rest Requirement
    All employees are allowed and encouraged to take a preventative cool-down rest in the shaded area to protect themselves when needed.
  • IV.
    When the outdoor temperature in the work area exceeds 80F or 26.7C, there should be always one or more areas with shade at all times while employees are present.
  • V.
    Recommended Precautions
    • Wear long-sleeved shirt, pants, and UV sunglasses
    • Wear a wide brim hat that covers the ear and neck
    • Use sunscreen or sunblock and reapply as needed
    • Eat light meals. Hot, heavy meals add heat to the body

Access to First Aid and Emergency Medical Services

An employee exhibiting signs or symptoms of heat illness shall be monitored and shall not be left alone or sent home without being offered onsite first aid and/or being provided with emergency medical services as needed.

Report all heat illness-related cases to First Aid immediately, for other more severe heat illnesses, such as heat stroke, appropriate evaluation and escalation of medical services will be determined by medical staff only.

Emergency Response Contact

In the event of a heat-related illness emergency, contact First Aid or call the emergency line 818-954-3333 immediately.

WB Security and Fire will provide clear and concise directions for emergency medical services.

Emergency Response Procedures

  • Make sure that effective communication is maintained so that employees can contact a supervisor or emergency medical services when necessary
  • Respond to signs and symptoms of heat illness, including first aid measures and how emergency medical services will be provided
  • Contact emergency medical services or transport employees to a place where they can be reached by a medical provider
  • Make sure that clear and precise directions to the worksite can be provided

Personal Protective Equipment and Supplies

During regular business hours, all employees can access Bldg. 47 (Paint Store) for electolyte packets, cool ties, sun hats, and sunscreen lotion free of charge. All WBSO supervisors are encouraged to stock up on supplies in their break rooms and parties.

This website and the information contained in the Injury & Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) are intended and authorized for the use of employees of this Company only; they are not intended for, nor should they be used by, the general public or any third parties. If you have not been expressly directed to this site by the Warner Bros. Studio Operations Department of Safety & Environmental Affairs, you are not authorized to use this website and you must exit now. The IIPP is a general outline of safe work practices to be used as a guideline for our productions to provide a safe work environment for our employees. Because each particular work situation is different, these IIPP guidelines are intended to be used in conjunction with consulting the appropriate production supervisors and seeking the assistance of our Production Safety personnel. The information contained in this IIPP is not a legal interpretation of any federal, state or local regulations, laws or standards. No warranty is made about any of the contents of this website.