Message Detail

To: All Faculty, Staff and Students
From: Yale Environmental Health and Safety
Summary: EHS Notice - Beat The Heat
Date: 18-JUN-2012 10:44:00 AM Message ID: 79949

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To beat the heat this summer, remember three simple words: water, rest and shade. Drink water often, take breaks and stay out of the sun. Remembering these words can help prevent heat-related illness.

Work and play outdoors puts you at risk of heat-related illness. This risk becomes greater as the weather gets hotter and more humid. This situation is particularly serious when hot weather arrives suddenly, before you've had a chance to adapt to warm weather.

What's Today's Heat Index? When outdoors in hot weather, both air temperature and humidity affect how hot you feel. The "heat index" is a single value that takes both temperature and humidity into account. (Weather reports call it the "feels like" temperature.) The higher the heat index, the hotter the weather feels. At high heat index levels, sweat does not readily evaporate and cool the skin. The heat index is a better measure than air temperature alone for estimating the risk of heat-related illness from environmental heat sources

Heat-related illness is preventable. Follow these guidelines when you're outdoors in hot weather:

  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing. Cotton is usually good, but so are modern fabrics that breathe and wick away moisture. Avoid non-breathable clothing.
  • Pace yourself and gradually build up to heavy work in hot conditions. This helps you build tolerance to the heat - or become acclimated.
  • Check the forecast, predict heat index, and plan your day. In hot weather, schedule activities to limit being outdoors to coolest parts of day.
  • Find ways to be in the shade. Erect an umbrella or temporary awning.
  • Take more rest breaks in extreme heat and humidity. Take breaks in the shade or a cool area when possible.
  • Drink water frequently. Drink enough water that you never become thirsty. Approximately 1 cup every 15-20 minutes.
  • Avoid alcohol, and drinks with large amounts of caffeine or sugar.
  • Use a buddy system. When working or playing in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and buddies, and have someone do the same for you.
  • Monitor yourself for the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness listed below. Let others know how you feel.

Signs and symptoms of heat-related illness include headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, weakness, mood change, mental confusion, upset stomach or vomiting. Anyone experiencing the above symptoms should be taken to the nearest hospital emergency department as soon as possible. Contact Yale Employee Health at 203-432-7978 if you have any questions.

Supervisors and Managers: Departments with employees or students who normally work outdoors or in unconditioned indoor environments need to address heat stress in their planning. Supervisors and instructors who oversee outdoor activities should review safety precautions and warning signs. Monitor the weather and curtail outdoor activities when the heat index is high.

Help and Advice: For further assistance, please contact Yale Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at 203-785-3550. EHS can also suggest appropriate controls to reduce your risk of heat-related illness.

There's an App To Beat the Heat. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have developed a tool for your mobile phone. The "Heat Safety Tool" can be downloaded to your Android or iPhone now. Visit: for complete information.


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