BSEE: Gulf of Mexico’s Soaring Temps Cause Illness Among Offshore Workers

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The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has issued a heat advisory for offshore workers after several incidents of heat-related illnesses. Examples of these incidents include a contractor experiencing dehydration symptoms and an employee showing signs of severe heat exhaustion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines heat exhaustion as the body’s response to excessive loss of water and salt, usually through excessive sweating. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, irritability, nausea, thirst, dizziness, heavy sweating, and muscle cramps. Heat stroke, on the other hand, occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature and can be fatal if not treated promptly.

To prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke, BSEE recommends advising employees and contractors on prevention and treatment methods. Prevention measures include staying hydrated, taking breaks in cool areas, and wearing appropriate clothing. Treatment for heat exhaustion involves providing medical attention, removing the person from the hot area, giving cool liquids to drink, and cooling the person with cold compresses. Treatment for heat stroke includes providing medical attention, moving the person to a cool area, removing unnecessary clothing, and cooling the person with cold water or ice. BSEE also suggests implementing work policies that require periodic breaks in high temperatures and exercising Stop Work Authority when necessary.

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