Each and every year, when the outdoor summer temperatures start to rise, so too does the frequency of heat-related injuries. When you are in the pool or relaxing on the beach, these temps can feel amazing. However, if you are an outdoor worker that has to endure the heat and humidity during long workdays, it can be incredibly dangerous.
Below are some basic tips that can help a worker stay as safe as possible in the summer heat:
Listen and pay attention to your body. As soon as you begin to feel lightheaded, weak, dizzy or nauseous, it is time to take a break and sit under the shade. Only you can know how your body feels. You must listen to it and take these conditions very seriously.
Drink as much liquid as possible. Always keep cold water nearby and drink it on a regular basis to stay hydrated. Dehydration is a serious danger in the summer and it can happen very quickly for an outdoor worker who is sweating profusely.
Find adequate shade for breaks. Hopefully, your employer has provided an escape to shade. If not, you may need to speak with them and let them know that because of the extreme conditions, some kind of shade should be provided for breaks. Occasionally, getting out of the direct sun, even for a short period of time, is vital.
Wear appropriate clothing. Don't wear heavy clothing that is going to make you too hot in the working conditions. Sometimes certain clothing must be worn for protection depending on the job you are doing, but be mindful as to what you wear.
Always check the heat index and follow the warnings. If it is not recommended to do a particular job due to the heat index of that day, you may need to speak to your employer about your concerns for your health.
According to U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, in 2012, 31 workers in the United States died from heat-related work injuries and 4,120 suffered serious heat-related illnesses or injuries. We recommend reading their safety guidelines on taking care of yourself while working in high temperatures.
The company you are working for should make sure many of these guidelines are followed. However, if they do not, you may need to consider legal action. These heat deaths and injuries can be avoided if basic safety precautions are put into practice!
Do you work outside in the winter? Cold stress injuries can be just as dangerious and debilitating as the heat.