Summer is here, with it comes the dangers of working outside in the heat. According to NIOSH working in heat can bring on heat stress injuries and heat stroke, the most serious heat-related disorder. Heat stroke occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature. When this occurs, body temperature can rise to 106° F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. If emergency treatment is not provided, heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability. Signs of this are:
- Dry, hot reddish skin and lack of sweating
- High body temperature
- Strong, rapid pulse
- Slurred speech
Ways to stay chilled in the hot weather
- Hydrate by drinking plenty of fluids, two to four cups of water every hour, don’t wait until you are thirsty.
- Carry a drink bottle.
- Limit outdoor work to mornings and evenings where possible.
- Avoid alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks.
- Wear protective clothing that is lightweight, light coloured and loose fitting.
- Slow down and know your limits to work safely.
- Assign extra workers for physically demanding outdoor jobs.
- Wear a sun hat or accessorising your hard hat to keep the sun off your face and neck.
- Take rest periods and water breaks in a shaded or air conditioned area.
- Use a damp rag to wipe your face or place around your neck.
- Use sunscreen.
- Avoid or block out direct sun if possible.