Its summertime, the birds are chirping, the skies are blue, and the heat index is at nearly 100 degrees! WHAT? Yes, it is summertime. Summer is known for bringing beautiful sunny days chalked full of outdoor activities. However, summer is also notorious for bringing on sweltering hot weather conditions that even make going out to water the plants a bit risky. The tricky thing is that heat sickness or heat-related injuries can strike quickly and without much warning. Some of the most at risk people for heat-related illnesses are individuals who work outdoors. Outdoor work does not simply stop due to hot weather conditions, instead many workers must simply prepare for the outdoor weather conditions adequately to stay safe.
Tips to Stay Safe in Hot Weather Conditions
Since OSHA’s main priority is to help protect the health and well-being of employees while on the job, they have actually administered a health warning this week warning employees about the anticipated high heat levels. This warning has come right on time as the U.S continues to experience record level highs throughout the nation, with many areas also featuring high humidity levels as well. In order to stay safe while working outdoors during high levels of heat, certain measures need to be taken to stay cool and hydrated.
Here are some tips to help employees stay safe in the heat:
· Stay Hydrated! – First and foremost: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. When you are outside in hot weather conditions a bottle of water should be your best friend, keep water within an arm’s reach if possible at all times. Depending upon the level of physical activity and amount of fluid intake, dehydration can happen in as little as 1 to 2 hours in extreme heat conditions.
· Utilize Shaded Areas when Possible – If you are able to move to a shaded area to work, do so. The shade is usually several degrees cooler than being in the sun as the shading object (tree or building) is blocking the direct sunlight.
· Light Colored Clothing – Put away the dark colored clothing when spending extended periods of time in the outdoor heat. Dark clothing absorbs the heat and actually makes you hotter, while light colored clothing reflects the heat.
· Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses – Things such as extreme sweating, weakness, fainting, nausea, cold and clammy skin or hot dry skin, fast pulse, or high body temperature can all be signs of heat-related illnesses. If you or anyone around you experiences any of these symptoms while working outdoors, get them to a cool area right away and seek help.
OHSA’s New Heat Safety App
Hot weather conditions are dangerous and many times worker’s simply overlook the temperature or do not check the temperature at all before heading out to work. The dangers of extreme heat should never be taken lightly and OSHA has created a nifty new app that makes it easier for workers to calculate the heat index for their particular areas. This app also features a risk level reading and provides helpful information about how to stay safe based on the temperature of your area. This app is free to download and is available on both the iPhone and Android and is titled “OHSA Heat Safety Tool.”
Don’t risk your health to the mercy of a hot day, take the precautions necessary to make a hot day also a safe day as well.