5 Safety Tips When Working in Heat

According to the Center of Disease Control, over 3,000 people died from heat illness between 1999 and 2003. Those numbers are still relevant today, and if your employees often work in the heat, you need to keep them safe. It can be tempting to have your employees work through breaks, especially if you are in construction and are up against a deadline. However, your workforce is ultimately going to be more productive if you give them some time out of the sunlight. Having a real time weather tracker and a safety plan in place can help you avoid the threats that come with working in the heat. Discuss the following tips with your workers so that they know what to do to prevent hyperthermia.

1. Drink Often

Far too many people wait until they are thirsty to drink. People working in the heat should drink about 20 ounces of water before starting a shift and continue to drink throughout the day. It is advantageous to have a bottle on your person, and it can be good to invest in a hydration backpack to always have a water source readily available. Employees working in the sun should drink between five and seven ounces of water every 15 minutes or so. If you see someone not rehydrating, then make sure you remind them.

2. Wear Sunscreen

Not only is sunscreen good for preventing sunburns, but it also reduces the risk of heat illness. Make sure you get a water-resistant brand. Waterproof sunscreen will remain viable even after employees have been sweating. Depending on whether your specific line of work will allow you, you should also look into wearing a hat and sunglasses to keep the sunlight off your skin.

3. Monitor Urine Color

Talk to your employees about monitoring the color of their urine. It should be clear or slightly yellow. This indicates the individual is adequately hydrated. If it is dark yellow, then the individual needs to take a break and drink water immediately. It is important to remember that if your urine is dark, it means you are already dehydrated. It is recommended you take a break immediately drink about 20 ounces of water.

4. Avoid Caffeine

Coffee, tea, and sodas have a diuretic effect on the body. This means they contribute to water loss and can leave you feeling dehydrated more quickly. One cup of coffee is fine first thing in the morning, but do not chug it during a shift. Another beverage you do not want to chug is icy cold water. This may seem counterintuitive, but extremely cold water can cause your blood vessels to constrict. Lukewarm water is perfectly fine.

5. Take a Lunch Break

Breaks are absolutely needed if you will be working outside for extended periods of time. Make sure everyone is taking a break every so often and staying in the shade when they do so. Additionally, ensure everybody takes a lunch break to reenergize and replace electrolytes. One beneficial idea is to speak with your employees about foods that are good to eat to beat the heat. Conversely, talk about foods that should be avoided. For instance, burgers might be tasty, but you want to avoid high-protein meals when it is hot out. The reason is that protein is harder for your body to digest, and you do not want your body working harder than it has to. Instead, try to have a lunch that consists of one or several of the following.

•Fruits such as apples, pears, and cherries
•Leafy greens such as spinach, arugula, and lettuce
•Vegetables such as carrots and radishes
•Soup, preferably with a vegetable-based broth

The right food can energize your body and make a shift in the sun all the more manageable. Be aware of what the temperature will be like before sending your employees outside for hours. For additional assistance planning your business operations around the weather, contact Earth Networks at 301-250-4000 or info@earthnetworks.com.