Intermountain Staffing/Ascend Staffing recommends the following actions to stay safe in the summer heat:
- Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking water steadily; don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol which cause us to lose water more rapidly.
- Take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors in an air-conditioned space.
- Wear loose fitting, lightly colored and lightweight clothes.
- Check on friends and neighbors.
- Minimize use of heat-generating appliances like stoves or ovens.
- Do not exercise outdoors. If you must exercise outdoors, only exercise in the early morning hours, before 8 a.m.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Check the local news and other outlets for important safety information.
When overheating does occur, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identifies four stages of heat-related illness: heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat Rash is an irritation to the skin caused by sweat buildup. While common, heat rash is usually treatable by getting individuals into a cool environment with good ventilation.
Sweating causes a loss of body salts and fluids, which can lead to heat cramps. An individual suffering from muscle spasms or pain due to the heat should move to a cool area, rest and hydrate.
If the body loses too much water and salt, heat exhaustion may result. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist skin, nausea, headache, dizziness, weakness and rapid pulse. Workers should immediately lie down in a cool area, drink lots of water and apply cold compresses or ice packs if available. If signs of heat exhaustion do not abate or worsen, the individual should go to the emergency room.
Heat Stroke is a medical emergency. If an individual suddenly stops sweating and feels hot to the touch, becomes confused, faints or has seizures, call 911 immediately. Place the worker in a cool, shady area, loosen and moisten clothing, apply ice or cold compress; get the individual to drink water if conscious.
Ten Hot Weather Safety Tips:
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids; drink about 16 ounces before starting and 5 to 7 ounces every 15 or 20 minutes.
- Avoid dehydrating liquids. Alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks can hurt more than help.
- Wear protective clothing. Lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing helps protect against heat. Change clothing if it gets completely saturated.
- Pace yourself. Slow down and work at an even pace. Know your own limits and ability to work safely in heat.
- Schedule frequent breaks. Take time for rest periods and water breaks in a shaded or air conditioned area.
- Use a damp rag. Wipe your face or put it around your neck.
- Avoid getting sunburn. Use sunscreen and wear a hat if working outside.
- Be alert to signs of heat-related illness. Know what to look for and check on other workers that might be at high risk.
- Avoid direct sun. Find shade or block out the sun if possible.
- Eat smaller meals. Eat fruits high in fiber and natural juice. Avoid high protein foods.