Has anyone else notice that it’s HOT out there? And not just normal hot, but hot and humid and stifling. Employers that have teams working outdoors should be mindful of worker safety in the heat, especially those whose work require protective clothing such as long pants, safety vests, and hard hats.

Onsite managers and employees should be trained in spotting heat exhaustion and heat stroke in themselves and in their crew. It is also critically important that the employer set forth a safety plan for any employee exhibiting the symptoms listed below. Remediating the issue for employees is as important as spotting the issue.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • faintness/dizziness
  • excessive sweating
  • cool and clammy skin
  • nausea/vomiting
  • rapid and weak pulse
  • muscle cramps

Symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • throbbing headache
  • lack of sweat
  • body temperature above 103º F
  • hot and dry skin
  • nausea/vomiting
  • rapid and strong pulse
  • possible loss of consciousness

According to the Mayo Clinic, heat exhaustion can be treated in the following ways:

  • Rest in a cool place. Getting into an air-conditioned building is best, but at the very least, find a shady spot or sit in front of a fan. Rest on your back with legs elevated higher than heart level.
  • Drink cool fluids. Stick to water or sports drinks. Don't drink any alcoholic beverages, which can contribute to dehydration.
  • Try cooling measures. If possible, take a cool shower, soak in a cool bath, or put towels soaked in cool water on skin. If outdoors and not near shelter, soaking in a cool pond or stream can help bring body temperature down.
  • Loosen clothing. Remove any unnecessary clothing and make sure clothes are lightweight and nonbinding.

If the worker does not begin to feel better within one hour of using these treatment measures, seek prompt medical attention.

DII provides this information as your partner in risk reduction. Healthy employees are productive employees. If you would like assistance building risk management procedures, please contact your DII Representative today.

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