July Work Safety Topic: Heat Stress
How to ensure you are safe this summer:
Shade & rest
Providing shaded areas (or even better, indoor spaces or vehicles with air conditioning) where employees can rest and cool off is critical to maintaining safe body temperatures.
Preventing dehydration is a literal lifesaver during extreme heat. Heat-related illnesses like heat cramps and heat exhaustion are the result of dehydration on top of high body temperature. When your employees are working through physical activity and heavy sweating without plenty of fluids, their muscles and brain function will begin to suffer, resulting in the above illnesses.
Providing electrolyte supplementation is another good way to help keep your employees hydrated. Electrolytes are essential vitamins and minerals that are lost in sweat. So while water alone is helpful, adding sports drinks or electrolyte ice pops can be even more beneficial.
The clothes that your employees wear can also be adapted to help prevent heat stress. Generally, light, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable materials is the best option for working in hot weather, especially in direct sun exposure. They can help with the body’s ability to regulate temperature, and they can provide protection against sunburn.