11 Summer Safety Tips to Beat the Heat
Summer is already here. And we can feel the growing temperature and heat in many parts of the country.
On the brighter side, summer is a great time to engage in great outdoor activities and enjoy a longer, warmer day.
However, no one can deny the safety hazards that tag along. Sun exposure can cause heat exhaustion, sunburn, and a number of other health problems. All of these factors, along with some preventive measures, will be discussed in this blog.
Whether you work from home or the office, these preventive measures will greatly help you in the summer months.
Top 3 Workplace Summer Safety Hazards
As much as you and I may enjoy the warm weather and the time spent outside in the summer, it is not the same for everyone. Especially for those working long hours, be it indoors or outdoors.
In addition to affecting employees' health, uncomfortable working conditions contribute to decreased productivity levels. Therefore having a pleasant working environment will help employees boost their productivity, irrespective of weather conditions.
Some indoor workers are already subjected to high temperatures – for example, employees working in,
- Chemical plants
- Material Handling
- Distribution warehouses
Extreme hot weather can exacerbate the situation. On the other hand, outdoor workers have an additional risk of UV radiation exposure.
Staying safe in hot weather requires understanding and managing risks. Let's look at some of the greatest summer safety dangers and how to address them.
1. Heat Stress
Heat stress is caused when the body's internal temperature rises and leads to overheating. As the body continues to retain heat, the person loses attention, has difficulty focusing on a task, becomes angry or unwell, and frequently loses the desire to drink.
As a result, the body stores heat, leading to heat stroke, rash, and heat exhaustion. When this happens, the body's core temperature rises, as does the heart rate. If the victim is not cooled down, the following stage usually faints and, in extreme cases, death.
Symptoms of heat stress include:
- Muscle cramps
- Poor concentration
- Heat rash
- Heat stroke
If not treated in time, this can lead to catastrophic effects.
2. Sun Exposure
When one is exposed to the hot summer sun and its powerful UV radiation, there are chances of both short and long-term illnesses.
Short-time illnesses include sunburn, exhaustion, and dehydration. And long-run illnesses include leathery skin and skin cancer.
What does UV mean?
UV radiation is a type of non-ionizing radiation emitted by the sun and other artificial sources, such as tanning beds.
3. Road Construction
Summer is the road construction season across the country. No matter what task they perform, employees who work on or near busy roadways face a constant threat of traffic hazards.
Road workers are not only exposed to traffic hazards, but they have to work directly under the scorching heat in the summertime.
Every year, almost 100 employees are killed, and more than 20,000 are injured in work zones, according to NIOSH.
Common road construction dangers that workers face include:
- Drivers who exceed the speed limit
- Vehicle movement within the work zone
- Conditions of poor visibility
- Crossing congested streets
Did you know? West Nile virus (WNV) is the largest cause of mosquito-borne disease in the United States. It is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most infected people do not fall ill, but one in every 150 may get seriously ill.
Several common summer ailments can affect employees, and it's critical to be aware of them so you can take precautions. The following are some of the most prevalent summer illnesses:
- Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a potentially fatal medical emergency that occurs when a person's body temperature rises to dangerously high levels. Heat stroke symptoms include confusion, headache, nausea, dizziness, and a fast pulse.
Sunburn occurs when a person is exposed to the sun for long periods. Sunburn symptoms include red, irritated skin, blisters, and pain. It can be treated with over-the-counter drugs and skin-cooling measures.
- Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body is exposed to high temperatures for a long time. Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, and dehydration.
Dehydration is a significant medical problem that occurs when the body does not get enough water and also loses excessive fluid in the form of sweating. Dehydration symptoms include dizziness, disorientation, and a fast pulse.
- Swimmer’s ear
Swimmer's ear is an outer ear canal infection that can arise after swimming. This usually happens when water is trapped in the ear.
Flu is a viral sickness that mostly affects the respiratory system. It is normally minor, but it can be severe in certain circumstances. The flu is highly contagious and can be spread by coughing and sneezing. Flu symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and headache.
Chickenpox is extremely contagious and can be spread by sneezing and coughing. Symptoms include rashes, fever, and itching skin.
Conjunctivitis, popularly known as pink eye, is a common viral infection. It is normally minor but can be severe in certain circumstances.
It is extremely contagious and can be spread by coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include rashes, fever, and itchy eyes.
- Asthma Attack
During the summer, asthma episodes are a typical problem for workers having asthma. Hot weather and excessive pollen during dry days can precipitate an asthma attack, which can be fatal if untreated. Coughing, chest pain, and trouble breathing are all symptoms of an asthma attack.
Hyperthermia is a condition that occurs when the body absorbs an excessive amount of heat. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, and a racing heartbeat. Hyperthermia can be fatal if left untreated.
Why is Summer Safety Important?
Summer is a peak season for workplace accidents. As a result of hot weather, longer days, and more vacation time, it is possible for people to be less cautious, which may lead to accidents.
Heat-related illnesses can have catastrophic repercussions, such as hospitalization and even death, affecting both employees and businesses.
Furthermore, workers who usually suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke may be less productive or make mistakes, lowering the quality of their work.
Employers can safeguard employees, prevent accidents, and maintain productivity by applying summer safety tips. These tips will also provide employees with a safe and healthy work environment. So, let us discuss a few summer safety tips at work which can lead to a more successful and productive workplace.
11 Summer Safety Tips to Beat the Heat
1. Wear Appropriate Clothing
Everyone would love to wear a short-sleeved shirt and shorts than their normal suit-and-tie. But that’s not how you can go to work, and you cannot just ditch your formal outfit.
Instead, you can opt for long-sleeved cotton shirts and dresses to avoid sun exposure and tan. Cotton shirts will help you stay cool during summer.
Although it is classic, dark-colored clothing absorbs more heat. That’s why you should always prefer light-colored clothing over darker tones.
So, put down your black shirt and pick up a white one; you won't be sorry. Also, always go for loose clothes to allow the air to flow and keep you calm.
2. Wear Sunscreen Every Day
Wear sunscreen daily to reduce your risk of skin cancer (and the early onset of wrinkles!). Most individuals spend more time outside during the summer, making it easy to forget to apply sunscreen. People with sensitive skin are more likely to develop a sunburn.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. They also suggested that it only blocks the sun's 97% of the UVB rays. Hence, you need to wear sunglasses, a hat, and cool, long-sleeved clothing when spending long hours outside.
3. Keep Hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential for optimal body functioning, especially during the hot and humid months. This is because of the loss of fluids through sweat, which occurs much more frequently in the summer.
If you intend to spend a lot of time outside, drink plenty of fluids before going out. Always remember to keep a water bottle with you and drink water regularly.
Consume foods with high water content, such as melons, lettuce, and cucumbers. It will also help you stay hydrated and avoid heat diseases. To encourage your employees to drink more water, you can host a water challenge at work and incentivize those who complete the challenge.
4. Take a Break
You must take regular breaks whether you sit in front of a computer screen or work in a warehouse. It is very critical for manual workers, particularly outside workers, to take breaks from the scorching sun.
So, it is important to find some shade, relax for a few minutes, and drink some water. These rest periods will aid in the prevention of heat exhaustion and other heat-related disorders.
5. Cooking Food on the Same Day
It’s very common for food to go stale during summer. That is why it is advised to cook food on the same day and have it. Because cooking food on the same day will restrict the length of time bacteria can grow and cause food poisoning.
Food poisoning is most commonly caused by viruses and bacteria. This is typically only uncomfortable but can lead you to the hospital if not taken care of.
6. Ensure that Workplace Temperatures are Safe.
If the temperature at your workplace rises to unsafe levels, you must act quickly. For outdoor workers, this entails checking the conditions before beginning work and taking frequent breaks in shady areas.
To avoid dangerously high temperatures, people working indoors should take every precaution to keep work areas well aired and cool. If the conditions become improper, you may need to invest in air conditioning equipment or send staff home.
7. Use Insect Repellent
Wear bug repellent to protect yourself from mosquito-borne and tick-borne diseases. During summer, you are more prone to dengue fever, malaria, West Nile Virus, and Lyme disease.
You can also reduce insect bites by removing standing water in your yard (dog water bowl and kiddie pools). Try to wear long-sleeved clothing and utilize mosquito netting when outdoors.
8. Make a Weather Emergency Kit
Summer is known for its long days, but it is also a peak season for severe weather conditions such as thunderstorms and hurricanes. Storms can quickly cut power and scatter debris, making it impossible to leave the house for needs. So, look out for the cloudy days and be prepared.
You must also be ready with a full emergency bag. The bag can contain things like:
- Non-perishable food
- First aid kit
- Life jacket (might seem a stretch, but better safe than sorry)
- And other items to get you through an emergency
9. Wear Personal protection equipment (PPE)
Certain employees may need to wear PPE, such as hard hats or gloves, to protect themselves from job hazards. Wear lightweight, breathable PPE in the summer to avoid overheating.
10. Be informed about heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are both potentially fatal medical disorders. Employees should be aware of the symptoms and indicators of these illnesses, which include nausea, dizziness, headaches, and confusion. Employees with these symptoms should cease working immediately and seek medical attention.
11. Keep up to date
Employees should be updated on weather forecasts and alter their work practices accordingly. Employers may need to change work schedules or provide more breaks when temperatures are extremely high to maintain employee safety.
Finally, employees must take precautions to stay safe and healthy during the hot summer months. The tips provided in the blog will help employees battle the heat and avoid heat-related ailments.
Bits of advice include keeping hydrated, dressing appropriately, and taking breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas. Also, always look for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Employees can enjoy the season while maintaining productivity and well-being by following these summer safety precautions. Have a safe and enjoyable summer!
Q.1 What are some warning indicators that an employee may be suffering from heatstroke?
Ans: Heatstroke is a potentially fatal condition that develops when the body's internal temperature exceeds 104°F or greater. Confusion, convulsions, unconsciousness, and hot, dry skin are among the symptoms of heatstroke. Employees who exhibit any of these symptoms should immediately stop working and seek medical assistance.
Q. 2 What are the best summer safety precautions for outdoor workers?
Ans: Wearing rainproof or emergency protective gear for an extended period is not recommended. Layer a work shirt over an undershirt to help keep sweat and heat from the skin. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Carry extra clothing in case you become wet or sweaty. Always remember to carry sunscreen and an umbrella when you go out.
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