Rising temperatures can put employees at risk for heat illnesses. When the body is unable to cool itself by sweating, heat illnesses such as heat stress, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke may occur. Symptoms range from mild and easily correctable to severe and potentially life-threatening.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) implemented the Heat Illness Prevention Program (HIPP) to protect employees from heat illnesses and to educate them on how to stay safe during hot weather. HIPP is triggered during the period of April 1 through October 31, and at any other time when weather reports issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) for a particular work location indicate that outdoor heat index temperatures are expected to exceed 80° Fahrenheit during the course of a workday or work shift.
High temperatures and humidity, direct sun or heat, limited air movement, physical exertion, poor physical condition, and some medicines are also contributing factors to heat illnesses. Heat illnesses and deaths are preventable when employees recognize the symptoms and know what to do.