As summer heats up, heat can affect workers’ health and slow production. Heat illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke (see our June 24 post) are serious and can even be life-threatening. Fortunately precautions can be taken to prevent heat injury by following these suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control:
- Reduce the physical demands of the job by using powered equipment to perform heavy tasks. DJ Products powered carts and movers are the perfect solution to take the strain off workers when materials, equipment, products or supplies must be moved from one place to another. Ergonomic design eliminates muscle strain, fatigue and physical stress, protecting the health and safety of your workers. Our battery powered CartCaddies do the heavy labor so your workers don’t overexert themselves in the heat.
- Wear loose clothing to promote air flow and a hat to shield yourself from the sun. When uniforms must be worn, natural-fiber, breathable fabrics like cotton provide better management of body heat. Certain newer fabrics are available that help wick sweat away from the body, keeping the body cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
- Decrease work exposure or, when exposure cannot be avoided, the length of exposure to high heat and humidity. Shorten shifts for high exposure jobs or rotate tasks to decrease exposure periods.
- Use fans to decrease humidity and increase air speed to allow maximum evaporative cooling from sweating.
- Provide shade in work areas where possible and certainly in break areas.
- Drink plenty of fluids and replenish salt and minerals lost during sweating. This is why sports figures drink Gatorade and similar beverages that contain salt and minerals. Salty snacks at break times can also help. Water should be continually available to workers during periods of high heat and humidity, and a worker’s request for water should not be denied.
Worker complaints about feeling ill or dizzy when temperatures soar should not be taken lightly. Cool water (sipped slowly); a break in a cool, air conditioned room; and application of cool, wet cloths to the skin will help. But anyone who complains should be carefully watched for additional signs of heat illness. Be aware that some medications exacerbate the effects of heat on the body, a possible side effect about which many people are unaware. If a heat injury victim does not respond to basic first aid, if vomiting occurs, the person loses consciousness, or if his body temperature continues to rise and sweating ceases, call 911 or get the victim to a hospital immediately.