Oh, the joy of summer! Your clients are planning vacations and your profit margins will be going up. But, oh, the other “joy” of summer. As mild days give way to soaring temperatures and thick, oppressive humidity, the season also calls for extra precautions. Along with this joyous time lurks the danger of having one of your valued clients or workers get sick due to heat exposure. There are precautions you, as an employer, should take to lower this risk.
Consider just some of the risk factors:
• High temperature and humidity, direct sun exposure, no breeze or wind
• Low liquid intake
• Heavy physical labor
Know the symptoms to look for when exposure is unavoidable:
• Headache, dizziness, or fainting
• Weakness and wet skin
• Irritability or confusion (if your employee exhibits this normally, disregard…just kidding)
• Thirst, nausea, or vomiting
Prepare ahead to protect clients and workers. For our four legged friends, we know to keep the water bowl full and avoid prolonged sun exposure. For our employees, it is very similar with a few extra variations:
• Drink plenty of fluids OFTEN and BEFORE you get thirsty
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
• Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine
If an employee gets over heated, don’t mess around!
• Get them to a cool, shaded area
• Fan and mist them with water
• Apply ice bags or towels
• Provide cool drinking water
• Don’t panic
If the employee does not respond immediately, call 911. You don’t want to take a chance with their health. It is a good idea to do training on this topic with not only your new employees, but your old-timers as well. Take advantage of available resources to prepare for all of the joys of summer. IBPSA, for example, has ready-to-go heat safety training materials.
Remember…safety first to avoid the worst!