Beat the Heat
With the onset of summer weather, the risk of heat-related injuries increases. Knowing how to safely work in hot conditions and recognize the symptoms of heat-related injuries can limit these preventable injuries.
To help beat the heat, employees should:
- Drink two to four cups of water each hour
- Avoid caffeinated drinks (e.g. coffee and soda)
- Wear lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothing
- Attempt to perform strenuous tasks during the cooler morning hours
Employees and supervisors should also be aware of the symptoms of heat-related injuries.
Heat Cramps are painful muscle spasms that result from overheating. Cramps usually occur in the abdomen and legs and are the body's initial warning that it is struggling to deal with the heat. Someone experiencing heat cramps should drink water or a sport drink to replenish fluids.
Heat Exhaustion can occur after exposure to high temperatures and is the body's response to the loss of water and salt. Symptoms can include heavy sweating, weakness/fatigue, dizziness or confusion and a flushed complexion. If someone is experiencing heat exhaustion, get them out of the heat, loosen or remove clothing, and have them drink small amounts of water.
Heat Stroke is the most severe heat-related illness and arises when a person's body loses the ability to cool down resulting in a rapid temperature rise. Symptoms include red/hot/dry/skin with lack of sweating, a rapid and weak pulse, shallow breathing and potentially, a loss of consciousness. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention.