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Heat-stress Prevention Guideline for the labors who work under the heat

Due to the change of climate caused by the global warming, the temperature here in summer is sometimes too hot. It reports in the statistic information of Council of Labor Affairs and Department of Health that we have higher temperature and stronger sun exposure from July to September so it has higher percentage to get the heat-related illness (like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramp, heat syncope, etc.) For that reason, Council of Labor Affairs investigates a guideline to prevent the heat hazard for the outside workers, including construction workers, pavers, power line technicians, etc. Because it is hard to improve the problems of heat-related hazard in the work, our research puts emphasize on the protection of heat-related hazard for the outside workers. Institute of Occupational safety and Health, Council of Labor Affairs, Executive Yuan.

I. Attention to the employer in the heat stress working environment! The employers shall have employee health management, that is to say, the employer shall select proper operators, adjust their working schedules and grasp their working environmental situation to give the workers proper health protection, which includes the following main points:

A. For the workers who have the diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, liver disease, peptic ulcer disease, endocrine disorders, and kidney disease, or take the medicine that will affect the thermoregulation or result in sweating or dehydration (like antiepileptic, anti-depression, etc.) or those who are fat, in old ages, used to get heat diseases, due to their poor body circulation and regulating function, the employers shall pay attention to their physical condition at any times and avoid to work under the heat.

B. For the workers who never work in the heat-stress environment, to increase their heat endurance, the employer shall give them at least six days to acclimatize the heat. The employer shall ask workers to work 50% of their daily working hours in the first day and then increasingly add extra 10% of the working amount day by day.

Table
Suggest Work Schedule for Heat acclimation
Targets (which shall fit the health protection rules of labors)
Heat Acclimation Working Schedule
Workload (%)
Total numbers of heat acclimation days
Working amount in the first day
Cumulating amount in the following day
First time heat acclimation-taken workers with more than 7-day leave
Return to work labors who take more than four-day sick leave with writing sickness certification in the clinical doctors

C. Having heat-related hazard education/training to teach labors how to avoid heat-related hazard.

D. Monitoring the change of environmental temperature at any time like when temperature rise:
(a.) use the fan, water mist, or other technology to reduce the temperature in the workplace.
(b.) if need, provide a proper shadow place and give extra rest time without reducing the salary.
(c.) Always pay attention to the body temperature of labors or have any uncomfortable reaction happened.

E. If possible, the operation shall work as a team (at least 2 people at a team) so that when there is heat disease happened, they can ask for help and take care of each other.
F. It shall provide abundant sport drinks, salt-content cold water or the jelly-like cold drinks (like aiyu jelly (愛玉), Chinese herb jelly (仙草), gelidium jelly (石花凍) etc.) to reduce water loss in the body.
G. Offer the labors a light color, breathable and moisture wicking uniform; for example, suggest the labors to wear long-sleeve uniform in the high UV working days.

II. Attention to the labors who work under the heat-stress environment! When work under the thermal environment, the labors shall follow the health management provided by employer and self-management in everyday life, which includes the following main points:

A. Labors who have the diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, liver disease, peptic ulcer disease, endocrine disorders, and kidney disease, or take the medicine that will affect the thermoregulation or result in sweating or dehydration (like antiepileptic, anti-depression, etc.) or those who are fat, in old ages and used to get heat diseases shall tell the employer to conduct the health management.

B. To avoid water loss and heat-related diseases from happening, labors shall eat breakfast and sleep well every day and don’t drink the alcohol or the caffeine-content drink before work or in the work.
C. Take heat acclimation and thermal hazard education/training to keep heat hazard from happening
D. Drink up sport drinks, salt-content water regularly and wear light color, breathable and moisture wicking uniform
E. When not feel good, instead of work, the workers shall take a rest in the shadow place and notify the workmates for help.

III. Tips for heat-stress work
A. How to intake water?
(a.) It is easy to result in a large amount of water electrolyte loss in the heat-stress environment so the labors shall drink up sport drinks, salt-content cold water or jelly-like cold drink (aiyu jelly (愛玉), Chinese herb jelly (仙草), gelidium jelly (石花凍) for every 20 minutes to reduce the body water loss.
(b.) As for the drink water, the best temperature of drinking water is 10-15℃.The drink shall not be too hot or too cold because when drink water that is too hot, it will increase the body heat. However, when drink water that is too cold, it will obstruct the spread of body heat. They shall as well as gain the habits of more drinking in less time.
(c.) Apart from those who shall have lower salt intake in doctor’s orders due to the physical diseases, as labors feel cramp, they shall drink up sport drinks or salt-content cold water.

B. How to select the clothes? Different clothes style and textures have different results in body heat spread and barrier. As for the uniform of the outside workers,
(a.) The uniform texture shall be breathable and moisture wicking like the cotton, moisture wicking fabric, etc.
(b.) The uniform color shall be in light color to reduce the absorption of heat radiation
(c.) To not affect the operation safety, especially under high UV-ray, we suggest to wearing long-sleeve clothes to reduce UV-ray irradiation.

C. How to blow the fan? A proper fan with low-temperature water mist in the front can reduce the environmental temperature and gain the comfort level in the workplace.
(a.) Gain the air moisture: Having the fan with low-temperature water mist (use the ultrasonic to transform low-temperature into the mist) in the front and blowing the low-temperature air to human body to take away the body heat quickly.
(b.) When the environmental temperature is lower than body temperature (about 32-33℃): Blow the fan to human body to take away the body heat quickly.
(c.) When the environmental temperature is higher than body temperature: Blow the fan to the hot area and keep the hot wind from blowing to human body.

D. When is the proper time to wear heat protection equipment? Generally, when the control measures cannot effectively help the health of labors, we suggest to wearing the following heat protection equipment while work outside:
(a.) Choose white color and breathable helmet: Industrial helmet developed by Labor Safety and Health Research Center is the most breathable helmet in domestics.
(b.) Wear the cold-storage air-conditioning clothes or have the coolant bag (in the pocket.) to cool the body down.
(c.) When the temperature of heat radiation in the environment is over 50℃, labors shall wear thermal protective clothes and equipment.

E. How to take care of the labors whose have heat disease? The common heat diseases are heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat syncope, etc. The following are the ways how to treat labors who have heat diseases:
(a.) First of all, move the patients to the shadow place.
(b.) For the patients have paled face, you shall raise the feet 12-30 cm. For those who having a vomit and nausea occurred, you shall lie them down.
(c.) Loose and take off the patients’ clothes. Don’t message or pull the syncope muscle to avoid the hurt.
(d.) Clean the patient’s body by water and fan them. It can spray 15℃ cold water on the body of the patients who suffered from the heat stroke and blow the fan strongly or place the ice bag under the patients’ neck, underarm and inguinal area.
(e.) Give the dilute electrolyte drinks (like sport drinks) or salt-content cold water.
(f.) Go to hospital as soon as possible (call 119 or go to hospital on their own.) We concern about your health.
Contact Number: 02-2660-7600
Website address: http://www.iosh.gov.tw.
Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Council of Labor Affairs, Executive Yuan

  • Data update: 2018-12-18
  • Publish Date: 2018-12-18
  • Source: Labor Affairs Bureau
  • Hit Count: 492