What are you doing to protect your employees from Heat Stroke and exhaustion?
These conditions are created when our body is unable to regulate our heat production at a safe level. First, we need to make all of our employees aware of the signs and symptoms for these conditions:
- Fatigue, weakness, fainting
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Sweating (absence or presence)
These conditions can be further escalated by the physical condition of your employees. Employees at a greater risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke are those with: Heart disease, Skin diseases, Extensive burns, Endocrine disorders (hyperthyroidism, diabetes, etc.), High blood pressure, Overweight, Depression, Insomnia and Fever. Over the counter drugs can also contribute to a greater risk for these conditions.
All Heat-Related Illnesses are Preventable!
What can you do to prevent them?
- Use Common Sense!
- Limit your exposure to direct sunlight as much as possible.
- Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic); do not drink fluids that contain caffeine or large amounts of sugar. Sport drinks are good as they replace electrolytes and salt in your body. Avoid extremely cold fluids as these can cause stomach cramps. Drink often throughout the day 4-6 ounces at a time. WATER IS GOOD!
- Wear lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothing that does not create a safety hazard for your work environment. If outdoors, wear a hat to reduce direct exposure to the sun.
- Make sure your employees are wearing sunglasses that provide UV protection and are impact resistant
- Avoid hot foods and heavy meals. They add heat to your body.
- Drivers who are on routes should pack a cooler with water for the day. Also, keep an umbrella in the truck if you are operating in extreme conditions, (desolate, desert, etc.), this will allow you to move to an area with breeze and still be protected from the sun.
- If exposure to the sun is inevitable, apply generous amounts of sunscreen with a high SPF rating to exposed skin.
- Make sure your truck is in excellent condition. A good pre-trip inspection is crucial in extreme heat conditions to prevent breakdowns, otherwise you may find yourself and your unit on the side of the road exposed to the extreme heat.