By: Express Employment Professionals
With summer just around the corner, it’s already heating up outside. Understanding the dangers of high temperatures is important to associates who work outdoors or in buildings with no climate control. In order to better prepare your clients and associates for hot days, remember to communicate the dangers of the following heat-related illnesses.
The symptoms of heat stress often include confusion and heat cramps. If an associate is experiencing muscle cramps due to heat, they should tell someone, find a cool, shaded area to rest, and drink water. The associate can return to work if the cramps subside and they are feeling better. But, they should not return to strenuous work immediately following heat stress signs. If they’re not better in an hour, the associate should go home and rest.
Heat exhaustion is more severe than heat stress. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, confusion, nausea, clammy skin, pale complexion, cramps, high body temperature, and shallow breathing. The treatment for heat exhaustion is the same as heat stress, but the focus for recovery should be the use of cool water. A cool shower or wet cloth may also be used to cool the body. If an associate suffers heat exhaustion, they should not return to work the same day.
Heat stroke is a very serious condition that can be life-threatening. Signs of a heat stroke include profuse sweating, hallucinations, chills, a throbbing headache, high body temperature, and slurred speech. Heat stroke can also cause sweating to suddenly stop. If an associate is experiencing signs of a heat stroke, call 911 immediately. The body must be cooled right away, and soaking or dousing the body with cool water is recommended. A person suspected of having a heat stroke must receive medical attention as soon as possible.
Preventing Heat Illness
Inform your associates to look out for the symptoms listed above and to take action if someone is suffering from any degree of heat illness. To prevent heat illness, start drinking fluids before a working shift occurs, and continue drinking water at least every 15 minutes. Water helps the body stay cool internally by giving the body something to sweat. Sweat helps cool us by evaporating into the air, taking heat from the body.
Remind your clients that regular breaks in shaded areas are important. If the shift is started right, heat illness may be avoided.