Pomerene Hospital Blog
Workplace Safety: How to Beat the Heat!
We are all aware that it is summer time and this year there seems to be an abundance of heat and humidity. Like a well-oiled machine, workplaces run best with prevention in mind. We will discuss how to avoid the dangers of working in heat and what to look for to keep workers safe. There are four typical heat related injuries that occur, each one has different signs/symptoms and prevention strategies.
A heat rash is very similar to diaper rash where the skin is irritated by heat and perspiration. Areas where clothing is tightest against the body like the neck, waistline and arms are the most commonly affected areas. To prevent this, the type of clothing is key so that you don’t overheat. Typically, a heat rash will go away once the skin has dried off and cooled.
We are all familiar with a “Charlie Horse”, the painful muscle spasm that can bring you to your knees. Typically this is caused by over exertion and poor water consumption. Preventing this is easy by drinking plenty of water before a shift and having easy access cool water during the shift. The best way to address heat cramps when they do occur is to try to fix the body’s electrolyte levels by drinking things like Gatorade in addition to water.
The next two heat related illnesses are serious conditions, your first response should be to call 911.
Exposure to extreme heat and humidity can cause heat exhaustion. Staying hydrated, taking work breaks and appropriate clothing can help avoid heat exhaustion. Symptoms include confusion, dark-colored urine, dizziness, headache, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you suspect heat exhaustion, call 911 immediately and try to cool the worker by moving them to a cool place, using cold compresses and removing unnecessary clothing.
Heat stroke can’t be missed. The body’s failure to regulate temperature causes this condition. Throbbing headache, lack of sweating despite the heat, red, hot, and dry skin, muscle weakness or cramps, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, rapid shallow breathing are all symptoms of heat stroke. Your first response should be to call 911 immediately. You should also stay with the worker until help arrives and then move the worker to a cooler area, remove unnecessary clothing and place cold compresses on the forehead and underarms.
How Can We Help?
It is important to do everything possible to prevent heat related injuries. The best way to avoid heat-related illnesses is by having a prevention plan in place. Pomerene Occupational Medicine can work with you to develop a prevention strategy that works for the employees and the business.
Contact us today via our website http://www.pomerenehospital.org/pomerene-occupational-medicine or call us at (330) 763-8688.