As much of the country experiences dangerously high temperatures, it is important to understand how working in extreme heat can pose serious, even life-threatening risks to your health. Heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke can have severe consequences, including death making it crucial to take proper precautions when working in hot environments. Whether you’re in construction, agriculture, or any other outdoor profession, or in a non-climate-controlled warehouse that will heat up significantly on very hot days, staying safe in the heat should be your top priority. Here are five essential ways to help you stay safe and productive during scorching summer days.
One of the most critical aspects of working in high temperatures is maintaining proper hydration. Sweating in the heat can lead to rapid fluid loss, increasing the risk of dehydration. Make it a habit to drink water frequently throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Aim for at least 8-10 cups of water daily, and avoid excessive consumption of sugary or caffeinated beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration.
Take Regular Breaks
Prolonged exposure to high temperatures without breaks can put immense strain on your body. While working in extreme heat, schedule regular breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas to give your body a chance to cool down. During these breaks, try to relax and elevate your feet to reduce the strain on your cardiovascular system. Use this time to rehydrate, and consider using a damp cloth to wipe your face and neck to help cool off.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Your choice of clothing can significantly impact your comfort and safety in hot conditions. Opt for lightweight, loose-fitting, and breathable fabrics that allow sweat to evaporate, helping to regulate your body temperature. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses can also provide additional protection against the sun’s harmful rays while working in extreme heat. Don’t forget to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to exposed skin to prevent sunburn.
Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses
When working in extreme heat, it’s essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, as early recognition can prevent more severe health issues. Keep an eye out for symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, throbbing headache, elevated core temperature above 103 degrees, excessive sweating, confusion, and loss of consciousness. If you or a colleague experience any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to take immediate action. Move to a cooler area, drink water, and seek medical attention if necessary.
Adjust Your Work Schedule
Whenever possible, consider adjusting your work schedule to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Plan tasks that require strenuous physical activity for the cooler morning or late afternoon hours. This approach can help reduce your overall heat exposure and decrease the risk of heat-related illnesses. Additionally, if your work environment allows, consider using fans, misting systems, or portable air conditioning units to create a more comfortable workspace.
Working in extreme heat demands a proactive approach to ensure your safety and well-being. By staying hydrated, taking regular breaks, wearing suitable clothing, recognizing the signs of heat-related illnesses, and adjusting your work schedule, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with working in hot conditions. Prioritizing your health and following these essential tips will help you stay safe and productive throughout the scorching summer months.
ABOUT AUTOMATION PERSONNEL SERVICES SAFETY RECORD
Automation Personnel Services makes the safety and well-being of all associates a top priority. The company has twice won the Safety Standard of Excellence® Mark From the American Staffing Association (2019 & 2021), and is one of fewer than two dozens staffing agencies to earn this prestigious award.