Friday, June 23, 2017

Things are heating up

According to the calendar, Wednesday, June 21 was the first day of summer; the warmest season of the year. The other tell-tale sign that summer is here is the need to adjust the office air conditioning daily. As unpredictable as the weather has been, it’s hard to tell how high temperatures will rise; but one thing is for sure – it will get hot. That’s great for fun days at the beach, cook-outs, swimming and other summer leisure activities. Heat in the workplace – whether indoors or outdoors – is another story. Every year, thousands of workers get sick from occupational heat exposure, some even die. The good news is that these illnesses and fatalities can be prevented.

Basically, heat illness is the body’s inability to cool itself. The body’s natural reaction to a rise in temperature is to sweat; it’s how the body cools itself. However, there comes a point, where that no longer works. That’s when heat-related illness can develop in one of the three degrees of heat stress – heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

The best way to prevent heat illness is to be proactive; practice heat safety. If you are an employer, make sure employees are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat illness; implement a heat acclimatization program; allow for work/rest schedules; make sure hydrating fluids are readily available; monitor employees for signs of heat illness and be ready to provide prompt medical attention if needed.

Workers need to take responsibility too. Stay hydrated, take breaks when needed, wear breathable clothing, monitor co-workers for signs of heat illness and practice common sense. Don’t fall victim to heat illness – anywhere. Be safe and enjoy what summer has to offer.

On a lighter note, I leave you today with a quote from Steven Wright – “If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”

Posted by MJ Thomas


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