The 4th of July is just around the corner and that means the blazing-hot “dog days of summer” are upon us. When it’s hotter than a firecracker you can be sure heat-related illnesses will follow. However, you can help keep your workers who are exposed to the oppressive heat safe with a few simple guidelines.
Everyone reacts differently to the heat, so understanding factors that contribute to heat-related illnesses and the subsequent increased health risks is critical (see below):
- The type of work and exertion required to do the job.
- The individual employee’s health condition.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) being used that might trap heat.
- Age (as we age the body retains less water for cooling).
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are the two most common heat-related illnesses. Knowing what to do is vital to help an employee suffering from either.
First Aid Tips for Heat Stroke:
- Act immediately and call for medical attention.
- Move the individual to a cool place while waiting for medical help to arrive.
- Cool the individual down as much as possible by spraying with a hose, soaking clothes in water and fanning the body.
- Monitor breathing.
- If the individual is unconscious, DO NOT try to give them fluids.
First Aid Tips for Heat Exhaustion:
- Move the person to a cool spot immediately.
- Loosen clothing and place cool/wet compresses on the skin.
- Have the individual slowly drink some water or a beverage with electrolytes.
- Elevate the individual’s feet 8 – 12 inches.
- Monitor for improvement. If none, call for medical attention.
Stay cool and have a great summer!