Heat Safety

To help prevent illness, learn how to recognize the symptoms and address the risks of heat-induced illness, train workers to protect themselves, and respond should a heat illness emergency occur. The University Heat Illness Prevention Plan is located here.

Heat-related illness is a medical condition resulting from the body’s inability to cope with a particular heat load and can progress quickly from mild symptoms to a serious and life-threatening illness. A heat-induced illness can occur when the body undergoes stress from overheating. This can be caused by exposure to environments that cause someone’s core body temperature to rise above 100.4°F. Symptoms of these illnesses can be profuse sweating, dizziness, cessation of sweating, and collapse. Heat illnesses include heat rash, heat cramps, heat syncope, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

Oregon OSHA Rule 437-002-0156 Heat Illness Prevention Standard  

The Oregon OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard requires employers to implement measures to prevent heat-related illnesses when the heat index equals or exceeds 80°F in all places of employment. Oregon OSHA has determined that a workplace hazard exists when the temperature exceeds 80°F and an even more serious hazard exits when the temperature exceeds 90°F. Supervisors and employees covered under this standard are responsible for understanding and complying with Oregon OSHA's regulations and the University of Portland Heat Illness Prevention Plan. 

This Oregon Standard went into effect June 15, 2022. 

Monitoring the Heat Index and Providing Resources 

Supervisors must monitor temperatures in advance and during the work shift to evaluate the risk level of heat illness. A Heat Index Calcuator is available through the National Weather Service. Supervisors must ensure there is adequate shade when the heat index equals or exceeds 80°F. Adequate shade can include nearby buildings, awnings, and tree cover. Shade must be open to air or have mechanical ventilation for cooling, located as close as possible to where employees are working, and large enough to allow for all affected employees to sit. If outdoor work projects will take place under direct sun for extended time periods when the heat index is at or above 80°F supervisors should provide other means of shade such as a tent or canopy if natural shade is not available. Supervisors must also provide ensure that all employees working in a heat index at or above 80°F. Drinking water is available to campus employees throughout various campus buildings.  When the heat index exceeds 90°F supervisors should implement acclimization practices, following the NIOSH recommendations for acclimating employees.