Dangers of Dehydration: 10 Easy Tips To Stay Cool During Hot Weather
Photo courtesy of Equipment World
There’s just no getting around it…it’s hot outside. The sun is beating down, the humidity is high, and you’re sweating. Although the mercury continues to rise, you still have a job that needs to be done. This is a dangerous time of year for construction workers and others who work outdoors. It’s summer and it’s important for everyone to take precautions when toiling in the extreme heat.
The staff here at ToolBarn.com has come up with ten easy ways to keep your body cool while working outside in 90-110 degree days.
- HYDRATE! This is rule numero uno! Drink enough water to keep your body cool. When you’re out on a job site, make sure there is enough water for everyone. If water is too plain and boring for your workers, you can use electrolytic beverages instead. This includes drinks like Gatorade, Squincher, flavored water or other similar products.
- STAY AWAY FROM SUGARY DRINKS! This includes soda pop, Red Bull, etc. Any drinks containing caffeine should be avoided if you’re on a job site. These drinks will dehydrate people in extreme heat. Lemonade and other citrus drinks should be okay, but try to avoid tea. Some tea is okay, but other types of tea dehydrate you as well.
- BE CHOOSY WHEN DECIDING WHAT TO HAVE FOR LUNCH! If you eat a lot of junk food or gorge on other bad types of food in extreme heat, it will stress your body and could cause you to feel sick. Try eating a lighter lunch and make sure you eat breakfast.
- IF POSSIBLE, TRY TO SCHEDULE COOLER WORK FOR WORKERS DURING COOLER PARTS OF THE DAY! When extreme heat occurs, ask yourself if some of the same jobs you do during the day can be done at night? Can you shift your jobs to an earlier start time? If you’re a supervisor, try to plan ahead and help your workers stay out of the sun!
- PROVIDE SHADE! If possible, bring large umbrellas or canopies to prevent some direct exposure from the sun. Also, provide heavy duty sun block and switch to wide brimmed hats if you can. Even if limited amounts of shade are available, it can still go a long way towards helping your crews in intense heat.
- LIGHTER COLORED CLOTHING! When you and your crew are on a jobsite, make sure all your workers are wearing lightly colored clothing to reflect light instead of soaking it in. Also, make sure everyone is wearing cotton clothing as well. A lot of uniforms are made of polyester for durability, but in extreme heat…cotton “breathes” easier. You can also encourage your workers to wear high-end engineering fabrics that absorb sweat and help cool a person’s body. These include undershirts like Under Armour, etc.
- GIVE FREQUENT BREAKS! The heat saps even the healthiest people of their energy. As the temperature begins to rise, so does the need for everyone to frequently rest. Also, if you have new workers, break them in gradually instead of throwing them into the heat straightaway. Every person needs at least a week or two for the body to acclimate to the current temperatures and climates.
- KEEP AN EYE ON EACH OTHER! Everyone is different, but if a person starts cramping up or getting lightheaded, immediately give them a rest and give them water to hydrate them. If you see someone starting to struggle…especially near machinery, immediately give them a break. Remember, everyone needs to be alert for the affected person’s safety and the safety of the crew.
- PLAN FOR EMERGENCIES! It’s always wise to err on the side of caution. Make sure you have ways to call for help. This includes having cell phones on hand, two-way radios or other communication devices to get help if it’s needed.
- BASIC FIRST AID! If something does happen and a worker starts having trouble, immediately take that person to a shaded area and start cooling them down. Take their work boots off and lift the person’s feet above their chest. That way, it allows easier blood flow to the person’s brain. If the person loses consciousness, call 911.
It sounds basic, but all ten of these tips can go a long way to preventing heat related illnesses. Until then, stay cool and stay safe from all of us here at Toolbarn.com.