If its not the heat, it is the midwest humidity. Working outdoors in the summer isn’t the most pleasant experience. But if your job requires it, it can go from unpleasant, to unsafe in a hurry.
Your body is designed to cool itself naturally, but when your exposed to extreme heat for a long period of time, the body has trouble keeping up with the dehydration. The Mayo Clinic provides these heat-related illnesses and warning signs:
- Heat cramps can be an early warning sign of heat-related illness.
- Heat exhaustion symptoms include increased body temp and cold, clammy skin. Untreated, it can lead to heatstroke.
- Heatstroke is life-threatening and can cause brain damage, organ failure or even death. Body temp goes over 104 degrees. The victim may stop sweating even though the skin is hot and could also become confused or irritable. Medical attention is critical.
- Major warning signs of heat-related illness include muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness, confusion.
Avoiding the heat
Not everyone reacts to heat exposure that same way. If your employees work in hot conditions, they should know the related risks and preventative measures so they can protect themselves.
- Pace yourself when working in heat.
- Hydrate with plenty of water or sports drinks – no alcohol or caffeine.
- Dress appropriately with light-colored, lightweight, loose fitted clothing, including a hat if possible.
- Stay out of midday sun when possible. Work harder in the early AM and cooler parts of the day. Take breaks in the shade.
- Wear sunscreen. Sunburns make it harder to cool down.
- Certain medical conditions or medications can make you more vulnerable to heat related illness.
- Keep an eye on coworkers. If someone is showing these symptoms, notify your supervisor immediately.