Heat Stress Training Guide

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Heat Stress Training Guide 2019

How to Reduce Heat Stress Hazards

Engineering Controls

  • Lower the air temperature, or increase air movement
  • Try various shielding, ventilation, insulation, and humidity reduction methods
  • Use spot cooling fans, evaporative cooling, air conditioning, general ventilation, and local exhaust ventilation at points of high heat production
  • When temperatures exceed 95° F, increasing air movement becomes ineffective in cooling

Work Practice Controls

  • Establish work-rest cycles that increase frequency and duration of rest breaks.
  • Provide breaks in a cooler environment and removal of PPE during breaks.
  • Train workers and supervisors to recognize the early warning signs of heat stress.
  • Acclimate to the hot work environment, and take time to acclimate after long periods of time away from the hot environment (i.e., after vacations).
  • Provide water (not caffeinated beverages), and a have hydration plan. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
  • Wear light, loose clothing that permits evaporation of sweat, preferably cotton.

Heat as a Job Hazard

Heat is a year-round job hazard in some workplaces on campus. During summer months, employees have a greater risk of experiencing heat related illnesses. When a person works in a hot environment, the body must get rid of excess heat to maintain a stable internal temperature.  It does this mainly through circulating blood to the skin, and by sweating.

When the air temperature is close to (or warmer than) normal body temperature, blood circulated to the skin cannot lose its heat. Sweating then becomes the main way the body cools off, but sweating is only effective if the humidity level is low enough to allow for evaporation and if the lost fluids and salts are replaced.  If the body cannot get rid of excess heat, it will store it.  When this happens the body’s core temperature rises and the heart and breathing rates increase. When heat gain exceeds heat loss, symptoms of heat strain (the physiological response to heat stress) can develop. There is no specific standard or temperature for identification of heat stress.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:

•           Heat rash

•           Heavy sweating

•           Headache

•           Cramps

•           Nausea/vomiting

•           Intense thirst

•           Rapid pulse

•           Fatigue and weakness

Action: Move employee to cool environment, take steps to initiate cooling, provide fluids and allow to rest.


Symptoms of Heat Stroke:  A true medical emergency:

•           High body temperature

•           Lack of sweating – hot, red, dry skin

•           Rapid pulse

•           Chills

•           Difficulty breathing

•           Disorientation, erratic behavior

•           Fainting/collapse

•           Convulsions

Action: Contact 911 immediately and take steps to cool the victim!


Heat Safety Facts

  • The human body functions best within an internal temperature range of 98.6-100.4° F.
  • The body has a natural ability to increase tolerance to heat stress through acclimation.  Bodies are then able to sweat more and increase their cooling capability.
  • How a person responds to heat stress is variable and dependent upon age, overall health, weight, medications, dehydration, and activities.

Additional Resource:

This NIOSH document covers establishing work/rest schedules (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/UserFiles/works/pdfs/2017-127.pdf) to help decrease the risk of heat-related illness. It takes into consideration temperature, sunlight, humidity, and work intensity.

As the summer advances, be aware of the signs of heat strain, for yourself and your fellow co-workers. Follow recommended engineering and work practice controls. Report any concerns to your management or EHS.

2019 CHP Update Available Now

Chemical Health and Safety

EHS is pleased to announce that our Chemical Health and Safety team presented updates of the current UConn Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) to the research community on March 1st, 2019. The CHP is a mandatory written safety program required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure worker protection in laboratories. Interested in seeing what’s new? In collaboration with the UConn research community, the following areas in the CHP have officially been finalized and updated:

Update Rationale
1.      Controlled Substances To ensure researchers working with controlled substances comply with applicable DEA and CT-DCP regulations regarding the management of controlled substances
2.      Emergency Door Hangtag To ensure researchers prevent reentry by other lab personnel during emergency situations. This Emergency Door Hangtag will be provided to labs by EHS.
3.      Formaldehyde To ensure researchers are not overexposed to formaldehyde and to comply with the OSHA Formaldehyde regulation
4.      Waste Minimization To ensure researchers are taking measures to reduce the amount of waste generated in labs as required by EPA (40 CFR 262.27)
5.      ANSI Z87.1 Certified Eyewear EHS has updated the wording throughout the CHP to “ANSI Z87.1- certified eyewear.” The previous version states “ANSI-Z87.1 safety glasses or safety goggles.” Rather than specify only two options, the change in wording allows supervisory personnel to choose the best form of eye protection for their researchers.

We would like to recognize everyone who contributed to or commented on the updates to the CHP. As in previous years, the information and insights provided by the research community have helped us develop a better resource for lab personnel. Under OSHA, the CHP is required to be updated annually. EHS will continue to reach out to the research community prior to finalizing any future changes.

Note: Emergency Door Hangtags will be provided to the research community by EHS over the next few months or upon request. The hangtags must be stored near the exit door of the lab and only be used to deny entry when emergencies occur.

New Controlled Substances Policy and Training Available

UConn Controlled Substances Policy - New Training Available Now! - Environmental Health and Safety

The new Controlled Substances Policy and Controlled Substances Training were recently approved.

Registration for the Controlled Substances Training is now available on our EHS training webpage. Please note, it must be completed through HuskyCT with a score of 100% by each registrant and authorized lab worker. Because this is an HTML5 interactive training, please avoid using Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge as your browser when taking the training.

Thank you to all members of the university community who took time to review the policy, and thank you in advance to everyone who will complete the new Controlled Substances Training. As always, your time and collaboration are valued.

If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions, please contact our office.

Updated UConn Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP)

UConn Chemical Hygiene Plan cover image

EHS is proud to announce that a fully updated and revised Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) is now available on our website. This new CHP went into effect on July 16th, 2018.

The UConn Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) is mandatory written safety program required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure worker protection in laboratories. UConn’s previous CHP had been in effect without major revisions since 1991. EHS presented an updated draft to the research community for review and edits during February and March.

With the guidance of the Chemical Hygiene Committee and the research community, EHS has finalized the updated Chemical Hygiene Plan to help ensure worker safety, prevent accidents, and maintain regulatory compliance in our research and teaching laboratories. The updated CHP includes new sections on emergency procedures, compressed gases, cryogenic liquids, nanomaterials, personal protective equipment, and respirators. In addition, a Signature Confirmation page has been developed and must be completed by lab personnel to ensure awareness of lab safety responsibilities.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Chemical Hygiene Plan. The information and insights provided by the research community have resulted in a more relevant, comprehensive, and useful safety resource for lab personnel. Under OSHA, the CHP is required to be updated annually and EHS will continue to reach out to the research community prior to finalizing any future changes.