Signs and Prevention Methods for Heat Stress
It’s August. It’s hot. And the physical demands of the concrete construction industry are high. The combination of high temperatures and physical labor outdoors increases the risk of heat stress and heat exhaustion exponentially. Luckily, many of the side effects of heat stress are preventable. Here are some tips for staying cool and staying healthy in the crippling August heat.
Wear the right clothes –
It’s important to wear clothes that are as light as possible, while still meeting the proper safety standards of the job site. Don’t wear more layers than required. When possible, shade your face and neck from the sun. Stay shaded as much as possible and pay attention to your body.
Always use sunscreen –
Believe it or not, sunscreen isn’t just for protecting skin from burns. Putting a layer of protection between you and the Sun’s UV rays can also help keep body temperatures down. Use at least SPF 30 and reapply as needed throughout the day.
Drink lots of fluids –
Dehydration is a major contributing factor to heat-related injuries world-wide. If you are on the job site, it is critical to drink water constantly. The recommended amount of consumption will vary based on body size, external temperature and amount of physical labor, but as a general rule you should be drinking water all day. Don’t wait until you are thirsty. By that time, dehydration might already be setting in.
Avoid certain drinks –
While water and other hydrating fluids are absolutely required, drinks containing caffeine and alcohol should be avoided. Both substances cause you to lose more fluids and accelerate dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Get out of the heat –
Spend as much time in the shade or in the comfort of air conditioning as possible. Take advantage of breaks and meals to relax, rehydrate and cool off. Step out of the Sun periodically and allow your body a chance to recalibrate.
Signs and symptoms –
Even with the proper safety precautions, heat stress is still a very real possibility. Here are a few of the signs and symptoms that might indicate you are affected.
- Profuse sweating
- Muscle or abdominal cramps
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Rapid heartbeat
Stay cool this August. At Baker, safety is always a top priority. Take steps to prevent heat stress and pay attention to the signs and symptoms at all times. Be aware of changes in your body as well as changes in your co-workers.
If you or someone you work with experiences signs of heat stress, it is best to seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.
Be safe out there!