Summer is finally here and those high temperatures can be dangerous for those who are involved in a line of work that exposes them to the heat. If workers are not monitored carefully, working in the heat can lead to dehydration, dizziness or even death. Here are some tips for beating the heat and working safely in warmer environments.
- Try to work in shade if possible. Avoiding direct contact with the sun is one of the best ways to beat the heat when working outdoors. Try to find a way to provide shade to your employees if possible. This can include setting up portable shade, relocating indoors or working near natural shaded environments such as trees or tall buildings.
- Stay hydrated. The human body is about 60 percent water and needs to stay hydrated. Most experts advise that a half gallon of water should be consumed a day. It’s okay to drink a little bit more than that when working in heated environments just to be on the safe side. Still, be sure not to drink too much water because that can lead to death as well. There are certain drinks that should be avoided before working in the heat, such as coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol. These drinks are dehydrants and can increase the risk of employees suffering from heat-related symptoms. Also, drinking water before the shift is a great way to prevent dehydration in the first place. Drinking water when you are already dehydrated won’t immediately make dehydration symptoms go away. It takes time for the fluids to rehydrate the body.
- Take more breaks. It gives the body and mind rest. Taking more breaks also gives works the opportunity to find some shade and get out of the sun. Avoiding direct sunlight for at least a little bit can help towards creating a safer working environment in the heat.
- Dress for the weather. This means shorts or sundresses for women if it is appropriate at your workplace. However, it’s also okay to wear athletic, base layer long sleeves or underwear undershirts/shorts in order to cover areas of the body and prevent direct contact with the sun. Hats that protect the face, ears, and neck are also great ways to go. Lastly, sunscreen can be your best friend (in addition to water).
- Tell all employees to watch each other for heat-related symptoms. This can include headaches, dizziness, fainting or disorientation. You can’t catch everything. It’s best to make sure your people are looking out for each other. Also, make sure there is a facility, room or tent around where those who are experiencing these symptoms can go to for help.
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