NIOSH recommends that employers consider the following:
• Schedule maintenance and repair jobs in hot areas in cooler months.
• Schedule hot jobs for the cooler part of the day.
• Acclimatize workers by exposing them for progressively longer periods to hot work environments.
• Reduce the physical demands of workers.
• Use relief workers or assign extra workers for physically demanding jobs.
• Provide cool water or liquids to workers but avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar.
• Provide rest periods with water breaks.
• Provide cool areas for use during break periods.
• Monitor workers who are at risk of heat stress.
• Provide heat stress training that includes information about worker risk, prevention and symptoms.
For more information, check http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/.
Something else I’ve noticed over the years since I collapsed during the Atlanta race: It takes a lot less heat to cause symptoms than it did before I suffered from heat stress. During a hot Texas summer I rarely can spend more than 20 minutes at a time doing strenuous work outside before I begin to feel flushed, thirsty and a bit uneasy. I’ve learned not to push past that level but to take a break in a cool spot, drink water and wait 30 minutes or more before resuming the task.
Or, even better, I try to avoid all hot, strenuous work.