Remember when summers consisted of frozen treats, cool pools and almost no responsibilities? While you can still enjoy a frozen treat from time to time, summers are completely different as an adult. Since many people work in the heat, it’s critical to take your safety seriously.
For states like Arizona, Texas and Florida who see dangerously high temperatures often, it’s important to stay on top of the tips below to stay safe in the extreme heat.
This might sound obvious, but you would be surprised how easy it is to forget to drink water when your mind is focused on something else. Elevated heat, especially along with high humidity, makes it difficult for the body to cool itself. According to the CDC, the average person has 2.6 million sweat glands. When we sweat, we lose water and electrolytes that make it possible for the body to keep itself cool. Drinking enough water and having enough electrolytes ensures our bodies has what it needs to function properly. It is recommended that you should drink 1 cup of water every 15-20 minutes of moderate activity. Make sure you increase your fluid intake in rising temperatures to avoid becoming dehydrated. Switch energy drinks and soda for water, Gatorade or even unsweet tea to stay hydrated and always have a case of water in your cab.
Take regular breaks
If you are actively working in the heat you need to make sure you are taking frequent breaks. The use of reflective clothing, water-dampened cotton clothing (although this may not work when the humidity is very high), and cooling vests with pockets for cold packs may also be beneficial for keeping workers not only cooler for longer periods of time, but also safer. Find an air-conditioned space or shaded area for your break and make sure to replenish your fluids during this time.
Know the signs of heat-related illness
Heat exhaustion, heat strokes and cramps are just a few of the ways extreme heat can be dangerous. If you begin feeling dizzy, develop a headache, become nauseas or faint you need to stop what you are doing immediately. Depending on the specific illness you might need to seek medical attention immediately. In the event you experience heat exhaustion, move to a cool place, sip water, loosen your clothes and put cool, wet cloths on your body.
The U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA and the CDC now have an app available for both iPhone and Androids called OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool to help you stay safe in the heat. The app allows individuals to calculate the heat index for their work site and depending on the index will display a risk level. It also provides protective measures that should be taken as well as information on what to do in an emergency. Stay informed to stay safe in the heat.