Now that we are officially into the dog days of summer, it is a good time to be mindful of the affects of heat on the body when working outside.
Keeping cool and hydrated are the best ways to protect yourself when working on a hot job site. Being aware of the risk factors that may influence whether you become ill due to overheating can help keep you safe while working in the sun. Some of the risk factors to be aware of that can affect your health include:
· High air temperatures and humidity
· Direct sun exposure
· Limited air movement
· Not drinking enough fluids
· Personal protective equipment and clothing
· Your physical condition, lack of acclimation to the hot work environment
· Advanced age, generally 65-plus
When working outdoors in the heat we naturally sweat to cool the body down. As sweat evaporates off the skin, it cools the body’s temperature. Sweating also causes the body to lose water and electrolytes, which are your body’s natural salts. Your body needs water and salts to keep hydrated and functioning properly.
A dehydrated person may start having these symptoms of heat sickness:
· Throbbing headache
· Dizziness and light-headedness
· Lack of sweating despite the heat
· Red, hot, and dry skin
· Muscle weakness or cramps
· Nausea and vomiting
· Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
· Rapid, shallow breathing
· Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation or staggering
If you suspect that you or a co-worker are suffering from heat illness, immediately call 911. While waiting for paramedics, take the person inside an air conditioned location, or at least put them in a cool, shaded area. Remove any unnecessary clothing.
Try to cool the person by:
· Fanning air over them while wetting his or her skin with water from a sponge or hose
· Apply ice packs to the person’s armpits, groin, neck and back. These areas have concentrated blood vessels, which can quickly transport cooler blood to other areas of the body
The best cure of heat illness is prevention, including:
· Wearing sunscreen with a sun protection of SPF 30 or greater
· Drinking at least 24 ounces of fluid every two hours
· Monitoring the color of your urine. The darker the urine, the more dehydrated you may be
· Avoiding drinking excessive amounts of caffeinated beverages, which can cause you to lose more fluid and worsen heat-related illness
· Wearing reflective clothing and cooling vests with pockets for ice packs
You should be allowed to take regular breaks in a shaded or air conditioned area. Weather reports should be monitored daily so that, if possible, jobs are rescheduled to cooler times of the day.
Neff Rental ensures that all of its employees who work outside have adequate supplies of water and other fluids to drink throughout the day. We care about our employees, and want to ensure that they remain healthy and hydrated. For more information about Neff Rental, visit www.NeffRental.com , or call 888-709-NEFF.
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