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2021 Heat Related illness Clinicians Guide

Agricultural workers are at significant risk for heat stress. Heat stress results when the body cannot get rid of excess heat and its core temperature rises.  Heat stress may lead to more severe heat illness including heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat stroke, and even death if left untreated.  Agricultural work, which requires performing physically demanding work for long hours in hot and sometimes humid weather, places workers at high risk.

This guide provides information to clinicians on the prevention and treatment of heat-related illness. Since workers may not be familiar with all of the symptoms of heat stress, it is important that clinicians discuss heat illness symptoms and prevention with agricultural workers and others who are at risk.


This joint FJ and MCN publication was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of awards totaling $1,949,598 with 0% financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit

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DATE RECORDED: May 25, 2016

PRESENTED BY: Antonio Tovar, PhD



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It was 95 degrees when Maria Jimenez, 17 years old, collapsed from heat exhaustion at a farm in California. She died two days later. Each year, nearly 30 workers die from heat-related illness in the United States. Outdoor work in labor-intensive industries poses serious risks for workers, but heat-related illness can be easily prevented.

This workshop will help community health workers recognize and prevent heat-related illness among at-risk workers. Case studies will show how to recognize the symptoms and health effects of heat-related illness. Participants in this workshop will receive resources for preventing heat-related illness.

Learning Objectives
  1. Recognize symptoms of heat-related illness and how to respond
  2. Identify steps workers can take to prevent heat-related illness
  3. Review employer and worker rights and responsibilities related to heat stress
  4. Become familiar with heat stress prevention resources
Further Reading

This material will be produced under grant number SH-27640-15-60-F-48-SH5 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. It will not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

HEAT ILLNESS CAN BE DEADLY. Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. These illnesses and deaths are preventable.

OSHA has now posted a new Heat Illness Web Page that includes educational materials in English and Spanish, including low-literacy fact sheets for workers, worksite and community posters, and a public service announcement from Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.  The Web page also includes a video from Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels (in English with a Spanish transcript).  OSHA will be posting additional materials on the Heat Illness Web page, including a lesson plan that employers can use to train their workers to stay safe in the heat and a heat index Smartphone app. 

NIOSH information on heat stress/illness.

A listing with links and ordering information to the EPA's bilingual posters, handbooks, guides, videos, CDs and other materials about pesticide safety and how to recognize and treat heat related illnesses.