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Heat stress – resulting from a combination of internal (body) heat production and external heat exposure from the environment – can occur year-round in foundries, kitchens or laundries, or only a few days during the summer in almost any work setting.

It can be as much of a problem in Minnesota as in other regions of the country where high temperatures are common during the summer. This is because people usually do not have the opportunity to become acclimatized and stay acclimatized in climates such as Minnesota's, where daily high temperatures can vary up to 30 degrees from one day to the next during the summer.

Heat stress can result in several illnesses – from the more minor transient heat fatigue to the medical emergency of heat stroke. It may also decrease productivity and increase the likelihood of injuries. Minnesota's heat-stress standard is designed to protect employees against the risk of heat-induced illnesses and unsafe acts.

The two most important methods of preventing heat disorders are hydration and acclimatization because they increase the ability of the body to tolerate heat stress. Engineering and administrative controls are important in reducing heat exposure.

Helpful resources from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Helpful resources from federal OSHA

More information

For more information, contact Minnesota OSHA Compliance at 651-284-5050, 877-470-6742 or osha.compliance@state.mn.us.