Normally, your body cools itself by releasing fluid to evaporate, taking heat off your skin with it. In other words, you sweat. When the temperatures soar and humidity is high, sweating is simply not enough to cool the body adequately. It is during these times that you are at risk of heat illness. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can truly be deadly if you don’t recognize the signs early enough.
Just two years ago, close to 3,000 people suffered with some type of heat illness. In 18 of those instances, heat illness proved deadly. The good news is that heat illness is preventable. If you employee workers who are exposed to excessive heat, it is your responsibility to put procedures in place that protect your workers.
1. Rest and Shade
When working in the heat, people should have ample access to shade and plenty of breaks. If you are working in an area with no shade, consider buying a canopy tent at your local big box store and setting it up on site.
Workers should drink water every 15 minutes, whether or not they feel thirsty. This will ensure that the body stays hydrated no matter how much sweat is being released. Sports drinks should be mixed in to resupply electrolytes lost in sweat, but water should be the main hydration source. Caffeine should be avoided, as it is a diuretic and can therefore cause dehydration much quicker.
3. Increasing Workloads
Like runners and other athletes, people working in heat need to build up their endurance. Gradually increase the workload of new or returning employees. Do not encourage workers to go all out the first days back on the job.
Train your employees to recognize the signs of heat illness and what they can do to take care of themselves. Symptoms may include dizziness, fatigue, confusion, hot and dry skin, nausea, vomiting, weakness or cramps. If people experience any of these symptoms while working in the heat, they should get out of the sun immediately and take a break. They should also alert a supervisor or co-worker.
Do not put your employees at risk during times of extreme temperatures or high humidity. Putting procedures in place can help to ensure that all of your workers are safe and able to perform their jobs.
If you have suffered heat illness or any type of injury on the job and need assistance filing workers’ compensation in Charleston, call our office. Your first consultation is always free and we will advise you of the options you have. Call now or browse our website for more information about our firm and how we can assist you.