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Tips to Prevent Heat Stress When Working Outdoors

As the temperature climbs, the Department of Environmental Health and Safety wants to offer a few reminders on ways to beat the heat when you’re working outdoors.

From Pride of the Southland band members practicing for the fall to Facilities employees beautifying campus to scientists conducting fieldwork, many members of the campus community are susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

These tips can help you avoid heat stress:

Drink plenty of water before you begin work and drink often during the workday.

Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol before and during your time in the heat.

Acclimate yourself to working in the heat. Gradually increase your workload and take more frequent breaks during the first week of work and after you’ve been away from work for a week or more. Gradual exposure to heat gives the body time to become accustomed to higher environmental temperatures.

Know your limitations, including your age and physical condition. Discuss with your health care provider how medications may affect your tolerance to heat.

Know the signs of heat stroke, which include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, heat cramps and heat rash.

Environmental Health and Safety will be taking temperature and humidity readings at various locations on campus throughout the summer. This information will be shared with affected departments to assist supervisors and workers in managing heat-related illnesses.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a heat stress safety app that helps you calculate the heat index of your worksite and displays the risk level for outdoor workers. The app works on both Android and iOS devices. More information is available on the OSHA website.

For guidance on heat stress prevention or to learn more about it, visit the Environmental Health and Safety website, call 865-974-5084, or email


April Case (865-974-5084,

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