What are the Essential Heat PPE Items for Workplace Safety

Heat PPE

It is no story that there could be situations where workers are exposed to excessive heat in the workplace, and one will wonder “Don’t We Have Heat PPE items“?

Before we go ahead, let us have an overview of Heat at Work (Heat Stress).

Workers at risk of heat stress include outdoor workers and workers in hot environments such as firefighters, bakery workers, farmers, construction workers, miners, boiler room workers, factory workers, and others.

What Is Heat Stress

Heat stress occurs when the body’s means of controlling its internal temperature starts to fail. Air temperature, work rate, humidity, and work clothing are all factors that can cause heat stress. It may not be obvious to someone passing through the workplace that there is a risk of heat stress.

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stress

  • Thirst (although remember that thirst is not a reliable indicator of hydration status)
  • Headache
  • Dark yellow colored urine with a strong odor (compare to a urine color chart for an indication of level of dehydration)
  • Flushed skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Fatigue (heat exhaustion)
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Dizziness or loss of orientation
  • Decreased cognitive function (decreased situational awareness, poor judgment)
  • Loss of balance, leading to an increased risk of slips, trips, and falls
  • Heat syncope while standing upright (temporary circulatory failure) with symptoms of light-headedness or dizziness.

PPE Can Add To Heat Stress

Wearing certain types of PPE can increase core body temperature (i.e., Internal temperature) more quickly than wearing other types of PPE in the same environment.

Read AlsoHeat stress – Symptoms and prevention

PPE like Waterproof aprons, Surgical gowns, Surgical caps, Respirators, Face shields, Boots, Gloves, etc, can cause more heat to users by;

  • Reducing the body’s normal way of getting rid of heat by sweating and other means.
  • Holds excess heat and moisture inside, making the worker’s body even hotter.
  • Increases the physical effort to perform duties while carrying the extra weight of the PPE and can lead to the worker getting hotter faster (e.g., working muscle increases body heat production).

Do we have Heat PPE?

Going back to the main point of this article – Heat PPE: Do we have PPE Can be Used to Prevent Heat in the Workplace?


There is actually NO HEAT-PREVENTIVE PPE, but the choice of PPE combined with the work process can help reduce exposure to heat and also manage heat generated so that workers involved in such heat-generating tasks will not develop heat-related illnesses.


Before you start a job where workers may be exposed to heat or generate heat, do these –

 1. Carry out a proper risk assessment:

When carrying out your risk assessment, the major factors you need to consider are:

  • Work rate: The harder someone works the more body heat they generate;
  • Working climate: This includes air temperature, humidity, air movement and
    effects of working near a heat source;
  • Worker’s clothing and respiratory protective equipment: This may mean that
    sweating and other means of the body regulating its temperature are less
  • Worker’s age, build, and medical factors: May affect an individual’s tolerance.

Read Also: Heat Cramps: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments & First Aid

2. How to Control the Risk

  • Control the temperature using engineering solutions, e.g. change the processes, use fans or air conditioning, and use physical barriers that reduce exposure to radiant heat.
  • Provide mechanical aids where possible to reduce the work rate.
  • Regulate the length of exposure to hot environments by:

– Allowing workers to enter only when the temperature is below a set level or at cooler times of the day;

– Issuing permits to work that specify how long your workers should work in situations where there is a risk;

– Providing periodic rest breaks and rest facilities in cooler conditions.

  • Prevent dehydration. Working in a hot environment causes sweating which helps keep people cool but means losing vital water that must be replaced. Provide cool water in the workplace and encourage workers to drink it frequently in small amounts before, during (where possible), and after working.
  • Provide personal protective equipment. Specialized personal protective clothing is available which can incorporate personal cooling systems or breathable fabrics. The use of some protective clothing or respiratory protective equipment may increase the risk of heat stress.
  • Provide training for your workers, especially new and young employees, telling them about the risks of heat stress associated with their work, what symptoms to look out for, safe working practices, and emergency procedures.
  • Allow workers to acclimatize to their environment and identify which workers are acclimatized or assessed as fit to work in hot conditions.
  • Identify employees who are more susceptible to heat stress because of an illness, condition, or medication that may contribute to the early onset of heat stress, eg pregnant women or those with heart conditions. You may need advice from an occupational health professional.
  • Monitor the health of workers at risk. Where a residual risk remains after implementing as many control measures as practicable, you may need to monitor the health of workers exposed to the risk. You should then seek advice from an occupational health professional.

Additional Information

When talking about Heat PPE, consider this – COOLING PPE

Generally, people working in hot conditions should wear garments made of cotton or other natural fiber, such as linen or silk. Outdoor workers should cover as much skin as possible, wearing long sleeves and pants. Choose clothing that is lightweight, loose-fitting, and comfortable.

“The air gaps help insulate you against the heat. Also, wear light-colored clothing. Dark colors absorb heat.

Finally, you can shop for – Thermal, and Heat Resistant PPE.

Related Posts

What is Heat Exhaustion Recovery Time?

Heat Cramps: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments & First Aid

Heat Stress: Symptoms And Prevention

Who is Responsible for Providing PPE in the Workplace