According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States. It takes more lives yearly than floods, lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes combined.
Thousands of workers experience heat-related illnesses. Illnesses include sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion & sunstroke. Unfortunately, conditions can quickly become deadly. Knowing how to avoid them is crucial for anyone working outside in the heat.
3 Tips for Working Outside In the Heat
Consider the following essential information to help stay healthy & safe while working outside in the heat.
- Hydrate. Drinking lots of water is crucial for preventing serious illness and even death when working outside in the heat. Hydrate even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid caffeinated drinks, which have the potential to dehydrate.
- Protect. Protecting yourself involves being consistent. Wear safety sunglasses, sunscreen, brimmed hats and loose & light clothing. Take regular breaks and use cooling fans whenever possible. Consider other products to help you stay cool in the heat.
- Educate. Know what triggers heat illness. Culprits include high temperatures, direct sun or heat, limited air flow, physical exertion, poor physical condition, some medications & bulky clothing. Hydrate and protect according to the needs of the situation.
Also, be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. They include dry, hot skin, no sweating, mental confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures and convulsions. Knowing these facts helps workers not only act when necessary to prevent a condition from worsening but to also keeping it from happening in the first place.
Consider It A Partnership
For individuals who need to work in the heat, beating the heat requires a partnership. When workers and employers both understand the potential for heat-related illness and death, prevention becomes a key focus when temperatures rise.
Employers can provide water, breaks, safety gear & education. Workers can avail themselves of the resources and take responsibility for their own safety. At the same time, each person can watch for the signs of heat-related problems in others and add a layer of helpful accountability.