As the temperatures rise, it can’t be stressed enough the importance of understanding the risks and what to do for heat illness. Heat illness occurs when your body can’t adequately cool itself through sweating. According to the National Safety Council, 244 people died in the United States from exposure to excessive heat in 2014. Heat illnesses include heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps. Workers who are the most vulnerable are those who work outdoors.
- Drink water, about 1 cup of water every 15 minutes, regardless of whether or not you are thirsty.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and liquids with high sugar content.
- Take rest breaks in the shade or in air-conditioned buildings to cool down.
- Wear loose, light-colored, lightweight clothing, and a hat.
- Replace salt lost from sweating by drinking fruit juice or sports drinks.
- Avoid spending time outdoors during the hottest part of the day, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Wear sunscreen; sunburn affects the body’s ability to cool itself.
- Pace yourself when you exert your body.
- Ask your supervisor if tasks can be scheduled for earlier or later in the day to avoid midday heat.
- Know the signs of heat stress and what to do in an emergency.
- Watch out for fellow coworkers.
- If you feel faint or weak, stop all activity and get to a cool place.
Used with permission from HR.BLR.COM