We are deep in the throes of summer, so the heat is remarkable in many areas of the country. Additionally, this month new OSHA regulations and fines go into effect. It is best to be aware. Matt Rhoney offered this post that deals with both of these topics. I hope you learn the lessons Matt teaches us.
Summer time is often a busy and profitable season for individuals who work outdoors, but it can also be a hazardous time of year. Construction work, for instance, can be dangerous and challenging year round, but once the summer heat arrives, it’s even more important to stay safe while on the job. Whether you are doing some simple yard work at home or you work hard on road or building construction, here are some tips for staying safe while working outdoors in the summer heat and sun:
Construction work can be strenuous and put you at risk for injuries and even death. According to Hardison & Cochran, construction is one of the most dangerous of occupations and an accident such as falling from a ladder or suffering from a heat related illness on a hot day, can have life changing results. One of the best ways to prevent heat illness from occurring is by staying hydrated throughout the day. Experts recommend drinking water every 15 minutes, even when you aren’t thirsty, rather than waiting until you are thirsty. If you are adequately hydrated, your body is more likely to work efficiently (sweat) in the heat and you are less likely to suffer from heat stroke.
Know the Signs and Symptoms of Heat Illness
Construction work, in particular, is often fast paced with many deadlines to meet and at times, there may not seem like a chance to have any down time. When working in the summer heat, a heat illness, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke, can come on quickly and unexpectedly so it’s important to know what to look for before you become seriously affected by the heat. The first sign of a heat illness is muscle cramping. If this occurs, it’s time to take a break, cool down, and drink some water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heat exhaustion is often accompanied by heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale, or clammy skin, a fast/weak pulse, fainting, and nausea or vomiting. If any of these symptoms occur, it’s best to move to a cooler location, lie down, loosen clothing, apply cool, wet cloths to the body, sip water, and seek medical attention if vomiting continues or any symptoms worsen.
While heat exhaustion is dangerous, heat stroke is considered a medical emergency and 911 should be contacted immediately. Heat stroke symptoms include a high body temperature above 103 degrees F, skin that is hot, red, dry or moist, a rapid/strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness. Someone with heat stroke should not be given fluids, but the same steps should be taken for someone with heat exhaustion.