Heat Stress Management in 2020

Sunshine Education and Research Center

October 13, 2020  |  Presented By: Thomas Bernard, PhD, CIH (USF)

Webinar Resources

PDF of Presentation: DOWNLOAD/VIEW


Medical Review for Exposure: DOWNLOAD/VIEW

Webinar Details

The management of heat stress uses a wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) trigger that was established almost 50 years ago. While this exposure assessment tool remains valid, the surrounding actions to manage a heat stress exposure have evolved, especially over the last 10 years. This webinar is designed to address three issues associated with managing heat stress. The first is exposure assessment. While the standard of practice is a WBGT-based assessment using the NIOSH REL or ACGIH® TLV®, Heat Index has become a common substitute for outdoor exposures and alternative heat balance methods like Predicted Heat Strain (PHS) and Thermal Work Limit (TWL) are available. This session will describe the ability of these methods to assess heat stress and the additional risk associated with exposures above the recommended limits. A second issue is acclimatization, which is an important adaptation to heat stress with proven improvements in heat tolerance. Acclimatization protocols for workplaces will be presented. Third, personal risk factors remain a wild card in the management of heat stress. One way to communicate personal risk factors is to include a discussion during training and provide written material. Another way is early recognition of heat-related disorders and an appropriate first aid along with an emergency plan.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this activity, the learner will be able to:

  • Describe the ability of the REL and TLV, Heat Index, and PHS to discriminate between acceptable and unacceptable exposures

  • Articulate the associated risks of exceeding commonly used heat stress exposure limits

  • Prepare an acceptable acclimatization program

  • Communicate the signs and symptoms of heat-related disorders, recommended first aid, and requirements for a heat-related emergency plan


Thomas Bernard, PhD, CIH, is a professor in the University of South Florida College of Public Health and director of the Sunshine ERC. He teaches in the occupational exposure science program. Tom’s interests in heat stress include exposure assessment, the effects of clothing, physiological monitoring, and personal cooling. He has help develop heat stress management programs for a variety of occupations. Tom thanks the ISO working group on thermal environments and the ACGIH Physical Agents TLV Committee for the opportunity to influence professional practice in heat stress exposure assessment.

Special Thanks to Our ERC Partners at the Sunshine Education and Research  Center at the University of South Florida: 

Sunshine ERC