Heat Exhaustion (K119)


What Happened?

At 3:00 p.m. on July 3, 2017, the employee was cutting and installing PVC piping inside the Micro Biological Reactor at a sewage plant. After a few hours, he mentioned to his co-workers that he felt dizziness and excessive sweating. His co-workers suggested he fight through it as they needed to complete the work and head to the next project. Two hours later, the employee stopped sweating and began vomiting. Paramedics were called and found that the employee was suffering from heat exhaustion. He was sent to the hospital and recovered a few days later.

Contributing Factors

The employee and his co-workers didn’t take the heat exhaustion symptoms seriously. 

Co-workers pushed the employee to make a poor decision about his health and well-being.

What Can We Learn?


Questioning Attitude: The employee and his co-workers should have asked: “what is the worst thing that is most likely to happen to me or my peer?.” This would have caused them to stop and think about the consequences of continuing work with heat exhaustion symptoms. And, would have led them to decide to take a break and rehydrate


Time Pressure caused the crew to feel a sense of urgency which pushed them to make a poor decision.

The employee succumbed to Peer Pressure as his actions were negatively influenced by his co-workers.

Ask the Right Questions

How does this relate to our work?

Where do we have similar traps?

What Tools can we use to avoid a similar incident?

Was a stop work point missed?