Heat Illness Prevention

sweating in the heatWhat is heat illness?

Heat illness is a medical condition resulting from the body’s inability to cope with a particular heat load and includes, but is not limited to, heat cramps, heat rash, heat exhaustion, fainting, and heatstroke. Prolonged or intense exposure to hot conditions and heavy physical work even in cooler conditions can lead to your body overheating. Symptoms of heat illness may not be recognized initially and can quickly progress.

Why is it important to know about heat illness?

Heat illness is preventable but, if left unchecked, could lead to death. People who work outside, especially in the summer, are exposed to heat and can get heat illness. Heat illness can also lead to injuries. Workers are more likely to get injured if they get tired or dizzy from the heat while working. Heat exposure can also lead to heatstroke, a condition that can be fatal. What you learn here will prepare you for helping your co-workers and yourself stay safe when working in hot weather.


Heat training booklet

   New Heat Toolkit

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Popular PNASH Resources

Quick Signs and Dangers Reference Table pdf English Spanish

Heat Illness Types pdf English/Spanish

Heat Stress Jeopardy PPT English Spanish

Signs and Symptoms Body Map pdf English/Spanish

Prevention Information pdf English/Spanish

Washington State Heat Rule

The Washington State Heat rule (WAC 296-307-097) is effective from May 1st - September 30th every year. During this time, employers are required to implement a heat illness accident prevention plan, monitor employees, provide water, and train workers. Visit the WA Department of Labor and Industries webpage to learn more about these requirements.

Regional and National Resources

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CDC logo


Heat Stress

PNASH Resources

workers working in heat

Risk Factors for Heat Illness Poster

Awareness of your risk factors can help prevent heat illness. Part of the Heat Illness Toolkit.

Image of Clothing for Work Poster

Clothing for Work in the Heat Poster

Wear light colored, lightweight clothing and a hat when working in the heat. Part of the Heat Illness Toolkit.

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Staying Hydrated at Work Poster

If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Part of the Heat Illness Toolkit.

PNASH Research

Educational Video(s) for Farmworker Ladder Safety and Heat Illness Prevention

WA State MAAF 2012-2014 | Richard Fenske, PhD, MPH

This project expanded the use of two recent PNASH-produced Spanish radio programs on ladder safety and heat-related illness prevention into a video tool for farmworker training.

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Risk Factors for Heat-Related Illness in Among Oregon Farmworkers

PNASH Pilot Program 2012-2013 | Jeff Bethel, PhD

Farmworkers are at an increased risk for heat-related illness given their work requires heavy exertion in an outdoor setting. This study explored the personal, cultural, environmental, and work-related risk factors for heat-related illness for Latino farmworkers in Oregon. 

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Study of Risk Factors for Heat-Related Illness in Agricultural Workers

NIOSH 2011-2013 | June Spector, MD, MPH

This pilot, seeks to characterize the burden of heat-related illness in Washington State agriculture, potential risk factors for heat-related illness, and methods for quantifying the physiological effects of heat exposures on agricultural workers. 

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