Summer is in full swing. And that means high temperatures throughout much of the country — something that can create safety concerns for many workers. Here are five tips to stay safe as the mercury rises.
1. Stay in a Climate Controlled Environment Whenever Possible
You’re at a far greater risk of heat-related illness when you’re outside in the sun for long periods of time. “As your body works to cool itself under extreme or prolonged heat, blood rushes to the surface of your skin,” explains WebMD. “As a result, less blood reaches your brain, muscles and other organs.” That’s what reduces your strength and brain functioning and creates dangers. Seeking indoor environments with AC or a fan for even a few minutes can lower your body temperature and help keep you safe.
2. Wear the Right Clothing When Outdoors
If you do have to be outdoors for an extended period of time, be sure to wear proper clothing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should wear “loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen,” as this will help keep your body temperature down.
3. Don’t Overexert Yourself
One of the most common ways employees get themselves in trouble is by overdoing it and working at the same pace they always do. But you need to take into account the higher temperatures when setting your pace. Start off slow and gradually pick it up to avoid overexertion.
4. Take Frequent Breaks
Also, be sure to take routine breaks, especially if you start to feel any symptom of heat-related illness like dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea or muscle cramps. This is your body telling you that you need to slow down and cool off.
5. Drink Hydrating Fluids Throughout the Day
It’s common knowledge that you should increase your fluid intake with warmer weather. But it’s critical that you only drink hydrating fluids and not anything that could dehydrate you such as sugary, caffeinated drinks like soda and coffee. Instead, opt for water or sports drinks. More specifically, OSHA recommends drinking about four cups every hour, especially if the heat index is 103 to 115 degrees.
With 600 people dying from heat-related illness each year, summer temperatures aren’t something to take lightly. Following these five tips should help keep you cool so you can perform your job safely and more comfortably.
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