Summer is a time of year where many are prefer to enjoy warmth, sunshine and clear blue skies. However, summer can also be a time where temperatures soar, humidity rises and heat can become overbearing; at times, extremely dangerous. Especially if you’re working outdoors. Unfortunately, these conditions do more than just cause discomfort. Extreme heat can cause excessive dehydration, fatigue and heat stroke. The results of these conditions can be deadly. However, there are several steps you can take to maximize your safety when you are working outdoors this summer.
1) Drink Water
It may seem obvious but if you’re working outdoors, one hour turns into two and then the next thing you know it’s been three or four hours with any water. Failing to stay hydrated can cultivate disastrous consequences. On exceptionally hot summer days, failing to drink adequate amounts of waters can lead to heat stroke or cardiac conditions that can be deadly. This can be avoided by simply having eight glasses of water per day, twelve glasses if involved in vigorous physical activity. Adhering to this regimen reduces and prevents the risk of dehydration.
2) Take Frequent Breaks
Failing to take breaks is another cause of peril when employees work outdoors in the summer. It is imperative that employees take adequate breaks to recover from grueling manual labor often associated with material handling operations. When enhanced heat is added to the equation, it is rudimentary. Failing to do so can host a slew of physical issues, including atrophy and general exhaustion. Taking several 15 minute breaks over the course of a hot summer day can be a huge difference maker. As the human body digests the meal and metabolizes the nutrients, a hearty breakfast will hold over any employee for the span of an entire day and thus there will be less of a chance for lethargy to be experienced.
3) Eat A Hearty Breakfast
Again, similar to staying hydrated and drinking water, one must also remember to eat a hearty breakfast before starting an outdoor shift this summer. Breakfast has become a skipped meal and as a result, many workers find themselves drained at the end of the day. This phenomenon can be chalked up to not eating a hearty breakfast. A proper breakfast, just like we learned in school, consists of all five basic food groups and should actually be the largest meal one eats over the span of a day.
4) Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Acquiring a good night’s sleep also helps workers survive the dog days of summer. The suggested duration varies from source to source, but generally many agree that 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep provides a slew of benefits. On days where workers need to be adequately rested due to the onset of summer heat, this practice should also be a priority. Doing so prevents fatigue.
5) Reduce Coffee Consumption
Coffee is a tasty beverage and wonderful approach to waking up in the morning. However, caffeine is a stimulant and once it wears off, many coffee drinkers experience a crash in energy. Coffee is also a known substance that dehydrates and on those hot summer days, it is best to avoid coffee consumption even when the coffee truck comes around for that short break. Coffee causes drinkers to sweat, if any employee is already outside laboring, chances are they will sweat even more and dehydrate that much quicker.
6) Wear Sunblock
According to OHS Online, preventing absorption of the sun’s strong rays is a great way to reduce the risk of heat rash, mitigate sunburn and of course prevent heat fatigue. Therefore, it is advisable to wear appropriate sunblock on all areas of exposed skin if you are going to labor outside for extended periods of time. Doing so will optimize safety and produce notable changes in morale and wellness as the day wears on. It is also important to consider the sun is strongest between 12 PM and 3 PM.