Hot summer days present unique challenges to staying safe on the job site. Heat stress is increasingly being recognized for contributing the rapid onset of fatigue, distraction, and mistakes.
Here are some tips to keep in mind for your summer projects:
Drink Plenty of Water: The average adult human body contains 50-65 percent water, meaning water is arguably the best hydrating beverage. Also, consider beverages with added electrolytes such as Gatorade, Powerade, or even coconut water. The additives make plain water more drinkable and provide the energy needed to replace depleted nutrients.
Eat a Healthy Lunch: Junk food is commonly high in fat and preservatives, and it’s going to put extra stress on your digestive system. Instead, eat a lighter lunch and afternoon snack such as vegetable salads or fruits.
Block the Sun: Whenever available, work in shaded areas or use canopies to avoid direct sun exposure, even if only temporary. Some shade is always better than none. Also, switch to wide brim hats or vented hats to help keep your head cool.
Schedule Early Shifts: In locations where extreme heat occurs, consider rescheduling to work in cooler times of the day when possible. Can the job be completed at night or early morning?
Avoid Energy Drinks: Energy drinks, although provide you with the energy to get through the day, provide minimal hydration. Typically, they are high in sugar and caffeine, which will facilitate dehydration especially in the sun.
Keep an Eye Out for Heat Symptoms: The best defense for avoiding heat exhaustion is knowing the symptoms for dehydration and heat illnesses. Look out for these early signs of dehydration: thirst, dark-colored urine, light-headedness, and a dry mouth, to understand when you need to stop to take a break.
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