Lucky for us over at Knowify, we get to stay indoors in a cool, air conditioned space. We know, however, that many tradesmen this summer will be performing strenuous work in blazing heat. As the temperature rises, so does the risk for injuries outdoors. Not only is it important to be able to identify heat-related illnesses, but acting quickly in response to important signals can save lives.
1. Have plenty of water breaks throughout the day
When the temperature exceeds 90 degrees, make sure to drink at least 1 gallon of water per day. This equates to a quick water break every 15-20 minutes, especially from mid-morning to mid-afternoon when the sun is the strongest.
2. Ensure workers can identify heat exhaustion
Weakness, increased sweating, clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, and fainting are the most common signs of heat exhaustion. In this case the worker should move to a shaded area, lie down, and sip water. Additionally, wet cloths can be applied directly onto skin to cool down the body.
High body temperature (103F), hot red skin, an erratic and strong pulse, or possible unconsciousness are signals of Heat Stroke and 911 should be called immediately.
3. Wear the right clothing
As many of us learned in grade school (or simply from going out in the sun dressed in all black), wearing dark clothing can amplify the sun’s effects. For this reason, it is important to dress in light-colored clothes and wear a hat in order to reduce direct sun exposure.
4. Gradually increase workload
Make sure to acclimate workers to the conditions by gradually increasing their workload, especially for new employees. This allows for their bodies to adjust, and is much less likely to be a shock to their system.
5. Demonstrate the importance of safety
Assure workers that safety matters to you by addressing any concerns promptly and appropriately. The more open communication you convey, the more comfortable your workers will feel.