Summer is a great time to be reminded of how to keep employees safe from heat-related illness and help them recognize the hazards of working in extreme temperatures. Heat, humidity and physical labor are a dangerous combination that can potentially lead to the death of outdoor workers when proper precautions are not taken.
What are Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke?
The two most serious forms of heat-related illness are heat exhaustion and heatstroke. The body typically cools itself by sweating. When sweat evaporates, heat is carried away from the body and its internal temperature falls. However, on days that are extremely hot and humid, the body may not be able to keep up. Heat exhaustion occurs when a person becomes very hot and starts to lose water and minerals from the body, which may lead to a general feeling of illness and the following symptoms.
When heat exhaustion is not spotted and treated early on, it can lead to heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when the body overheats and internal body temperature becomes dangerously high (104°F). Heatstroke is less common and far more serious than heat exhaustion. It can cause damage to the brain and essential organs, and may be life-threatening.
How to Stay Safe
DOT Metals® reminds roofing contractors and all companies with outdoor workers to take the following steps to prevent heat-related illness.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat.
- During outdoor work activity, take frequent short breaks in cool shade.
- Drink water or other fluids every 15 to 20 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
- Eat smaller meals before work activity.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses and what to do in an emergency.
- Keep an eye on coworkers.
Recognizing the symptoms of heat illness and taking fast action could save a life! For more tips to prevent heat illness in outdoor workers, visit the OSHA site. To learn more about DOT Metals®, contact us today at (800) 331-9966, and be sure to ask for DOT Metals® products from your local distributor.