Now that summer is in full swing, the temperature and humidity are rising to their annual highs. With that comes the risk of heat-related illnesses and accidents. At VERTEX, safety is always a priority. Whether you are working out in the field, in an office, or at home, precautions should be taken to avoid heat stress, particularly during this time of year.
Occupational Heat Stress
Heat stress is defined as the point at which your body can no longer regulate its temperature and you overheat.
According to OSHA, each year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in extreme heat or humid conditions. More than 40 percent of heat-related worker deaths occur in the construction industry, but workers in every field are susceptible. There is a range of heat-related illnesses and they can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical condition.
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat cramps
- Heat rashes
If you or a co-worker experience any of the following symptoms, be sure to get help:
- Muscle or abdominal cramps
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Pale skin
- Profuse sweating
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
Heat Safety Tips
- Know the weather for your area. Weather apps provide real-time weather updates and warnings.
- Severe thunderstorms can appear with very little warning. Keep an eye on the sky to see if the weather is changing.
- Dress in light-colored, lightweight and breathable clothing.
- Drink plenty of water and Gatorade to replenish electrolytes.
- Always keep extra water with you.
- Take several breaks and stay in shaded areas as much as possible.
- Make sure you eat well and stay away from soda, coffee, and alcohol.
- Wear sunblock and reapply as needed.
- Keep your head covered to avoid overexposure.
- To cool off, do not pour cold water directly on top of your head. Pour it down your back, around your neck, and on your wrists.
- If you are in the field, make sure you have a plan to contact co-workers as a means of checking-in.
- If you notice a co-worker displaying any of the symptoms above, get them to a shaded area, get water into them in small amounts at first and, if needed, call 911.