States across the nation are currently battling extreme temps and the heat isn’t expected to diminish just yet. While there are plenty of ways to stay cool and advisories to be out of the sunlight during these days, there are some workers who cannot avoid being outdoors. It’s with extreme caution that these employers and workers should approach work when a heat wave is in effect.
Here are some precautions that must be taken to avoid serious dangers.
Know the Signs of Heat Exhaustion
Summer is a season when feeling hot and getting sweaty are part of the job for outdoor workers. However when those conditions become severe and are coupled with dizziness and headaches or stomach issues and even unconsciousness, there is a threat for heat exhaustion. As the body goes into overdrive the risk of shock and even stroke become greater. Age, weight and physical activity levels all have an effect on the possibility of heat illness as well.
Stay Hydrated & Wear Light Clothing
To avoid heat exhaustion it’s important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids even before you become thirsty. If at all avoidable, do not spend time outdoors during the hottest times of the day when the sun is at full exposure and remember to dress appropriately. Depending the type of work and hazards present on site, you should be wearing light clothing to further prevent body temperatures from rising and working too hard to maintain normal temperatures.
Maintain Safe Working Conditions
Since a heatwave is more than just a hot day in the middle of summer (it’s defined as a prolonged period of high temperatures combined with humidity and other dangerous conditions) it’s important to know the compliance rules for maintaining a safe workplace. When possible use portable air conditioning and cooling units, allow for extra breaks for workers and supply plenty of water to assist with hydration throughout the day.
Train for Heat-related Treatment
If someone is showing signs of heat distress on the job, it’s important to immediately get them some cold water to cool them off and hydrate them. Also get them out of the sun as soon as possible and seek immediate medical attention. Training programs that offer practical tips for avoiding heat exhaustion on the job and how to handle extreme weather conditions is critical.