Farm Safety Check: Heat Illness

Farm Safety Check: Heat Illness

JULY 2020

The symptoms for heat-related illness often look very similar to other illnesses such as COVID-19.

These symptoms include but are not limited to fever, headache, nausea, and fatigue. Keeping workers safe should always be your #1 priority. During COVID-19, it’s especially important that workers do not get a heat-related illness, since this can make it harder to know whether someone has COVID-19.



The checklist below lists a few ways you can be prepared and prevent heat related illness:

  • Do workers who have preexisting conditions, are older than 65, are pregnant, or who had COVID-19 given more breaks in the shade and with food and cool fluids available?
  • Are hot, physically-demanding jobs scheduled early in the day with more people scheduled to do these jobs, to reduce the load on each person?
  • Have all workers been trained to prevent, recognize and treat heat-related illness in themselves and others?
  • Does each worker have their own water bottle? Is it washed daily?
  • Is the location where workers get water disinfected and cleaned after each use?
  • Can workers explain their location if they need to seek medical attention?
  • Do workers begin each shift by drinking plenty of fluids, including electrolyte-containing sports drinks?
  • Are workers given more breaks to rest and hydrate as the temperature rises?
  • Do workers end each shift resting and drinking plenty of cold fluids to ensure their bodies cool down? Heat stress can become magnified over consecutive days.
  • Does each worker know (1) how and (2) which medical provider to call in case of an emergency? Does the provider speak the workers’ language(s)?
  • Are workers being acclimatized? In other words, are workers gradually increasing their exposure time in hot environmental conditions over a 7-14 day period?

You and/or your employee(s) can download and print a pdf checklist to complete safety checks on your farm.  Keep the completed forms for follow-up, future reference and inspections.



Additional Resources:

Disclaimer: The facts and information listed above are suggestions for your safety, but are in no way a comprehensive and exhaustive list of all actions needed to ensure your safety.

Protect your Workers from Heat Stress


Acclimatization is the result of beneficial physiological adaptations (e.g., increased sweating efficiency and stabilization of the circulation) that occur after gradual increased exposure to a hot environment.