How to Beat the Heat at Work
Beat the Heat at Work with Prevention and Attention
It’s hot and going outside isn’t always the preference for summer work, but sometimes it is a requirement. Your employees are your most valuable assets and keeping them in optimal care and securing their safety is not optional. Here are some of the dangers that the summer can pose and how you can combat them if they present themselves.
For outdoor workers, this will mean increased danger of heat related illness as well as other environmental risks like insect borne illness and water safety.
1. Wear light colored, breathable clothing - while your instinct will be to simply wear less, light, loose clothing is your best bet to stay cool. It will keep the sun off your skin and help increase air circulation around the body helping it to cool. A wide brimmed hat might not be your cup of tea, but it will keep the sun off the many thermoreceptors on your face. Employer Tip: provide outdoor staff with cool and comfortable uniforms in modern fabrics made for hot temperatures.
2. Drink more water - it’s easy to become dehydrated without noticing. Combat dehydration by keeping a reusable water bottle filled and drinking water every hour. For some people have a water bottle with time stamps is a helpful way to be reminded of your need for hydration. Employer Tip: provide all employees with water bottles and easy access to hydration.
3. Be careful of bugs - Make sure to regularly use bug spray when working outdoors. Insect borne illness can mean infection and possibility of disease if the situation is severe enough.
4. Stay informed and, when possible, inside - Some work naturally brings you outdoors, but be cognizant of when to work and when to wait by listening to weather reports. Employer Tip: Keep your employees informed on current weather conditions and provide them with periodic breaks to get away from the conditions.
Symptoms of Heat Related illness
▪ Dizziness or fainting
▪ Mood swings
▪ Rapid heart rate
▪ Dark yellow urine (dehydration)
▪ Redness of skin
▪ Swollen lips
If any of these symptoms are present, it’s time to take a break and assess whether you may be experiencing heat related illness. Be aware of these heat related illnesses and their symptoms:
1. Heat Rash -- Caused by skin being constantly wet from sweat and plugged sweat glands, this condition appears as a raised, red blistery rash. Construction workers are especially prone to this working out in the sun for extended periods of time.
2. Heat Cramps -- Caused by excessive loss of water and electrolytes, with cramps usually occurring in the legs or abdomen. Any outdoor worker could be exposed to this, especially Parks and Recreation workers who stand and walk for prolonged periods in the heat, and Municipal Workers like Meter Readers who walk up and down the street.
3. Heat Syncope -- Caused by prolonged standing or sudden rising from a sitting or laying position, includes fainting or dizziness. Mechanics and Municipal workers may be at risk for heat syncope as they find themselves lying or leaning for repairs.
4. Heat Exhaustion -- Symptoms are pale skin, excessive sweating, headache, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision and dizziness, with the potential for fainting. All outdoor and indoor workers are subject to heat stroke when temperatures rise. If you are not well hydrated in a well-ventilated area, the body will easily overheat, and it will become difficult to function both mentally and physically.
If you’re working an outside job, you’ll understand the nuisance of insects. Swatting away your problems may have worked before, but there is something slightly more serious in the air now. As of late, mosquitoes are carrying serious viruses that present serious harm. Diseases like the Zika Virus, West-Nile Virus, and other mosquito-borne illnesses are showing up more commonly and are establishing a larger threat. As an employer, here are the steps you can take to ensure the safety of your employees.
1. Know Your Facts
Zika is a virus that has appeared all around the world. It is primarily carried by the Aedes mosquitoes who pack a mean bite. The most notable places where the illness has shown itself are Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Central to South America. Unfortunately, amongst all other places this virus has surfaced, as of 2016, Florida and Texas have now made the list.
2. Can I get It?
The answer is yes. In fact, anyone can get it. If you live in an area where Zika is prominent or are traveling to a location that has the virus, and you have not yet been infected, it is suggested you change your arrangements, because you are vulnerable. Many people will show minor to no symptoms which emphasizes the severity of this illness. Prevention is key, and with the right knowledge it can be achieved.
3. How to Prevent Zika
The first way to prevent the spread of this virus is to identify those at risk. Typically, any form of outdoor employees will be the biggest targets. Other examples can vary from business travelers to healthcare and laboratory workers, and many others. While it might seem difficult to avoid something so unnoticeable, there are steps that should be in place to protect yourself and your employees. Using bug spray is an obvious answer for how to prevent bug bites; the reality is, not as many people wear it as you would think. Covering yourself is essential. Not just covering yourself in bug spray, but also in long clothing. Wearing clothes that block exposed skin is an important way to fight against insects. Finally, taking the extra step, and using protection such as masks, gloves, eye protection, and more, can be a make or break for getting attacked.
Bug bites and the diseases they can transmit are dangerous as is: Zika is just one of the many illnesses that is spread by insects. A simple layer of clothing, or the spraying of some bug spray can be what saves you or your employees a trip to the hospital. Take the precautions instead of taking the possibility of a virus.
Remember that your employee’s safety is crucial. Meeting their safety needs and making sure that they prepare themselves correctly against the often-dangerous summer environment is not something to overlook. That’s why SoloProtect is here to remind you of all the things that can be done to help make the summer a little easier for everyone.