It’s worth taking extra precautions in the summer months for safety
We might not always think about heat safety, but now that July is just around the corner, the temperatures are rising, and it’s wise to be cautious when those heat indexes creep up. As the National Weather Service says, “Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses.” You want to make sure your friends and family are spared any heat-related unpleasantness this summer, let alone injury.
So here is some basic information about the risks that come with heat, as well as suggestions to follow as the temperatures rise:
First, beware of heat-related injuries:
- Even if you’re only gardening or doing some basic chores outside, working in full sunlight can increase heat index values by 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The body is normally able to cool itself by sweating, but during the hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating isn't enough.
- Your body temperature can rise to dangerous levels if you don't drink enough water and rest in the shade. This can result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Heat illnesses and deaths are preventable. In 2014, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illness and 18 died from heat stroke and related causes on the job.
Make sure whatever activities you plan, you take into account heat safety measures!
Keep these factors in mind and take precautions for these conditions, such as:
- drink enough fluids.
- schedule rest breaks (in the shade or inside in air conditioning).
- plan for and know what to do in an emergency (should someone faint)
- adjust your work plan—maybe the 95 degree day isn’t the time to tackle that weeding or painting project you’ve been meaning to get around to.
- gradually increase your workload—and especially that of children or older individuals, or anyone unaccustomed to the heat.
- learn to look out for signs and symptoms of heat illness.
- don’t work outside alone—pair up and monitor one another for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.
An easy way to stay on top of some of these measures is to download the free Heat Safety Tool app from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Available for both iPhone and Android (in English and Spanish), this handy app allows you to calculate the heat index—which can be very useful if you happen to be someone who has to work outside. This will also show you your risk level and remind you about protective measures you can take to ensure your safety. Well worth a click and a few minutes to walk yourself through it.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful as you make plans for your summer activities. With a little caution and know-how, everyone can be safe, even on those sweltering days.
This post is part of the weekly blog of Seacoast Career Schools, with campuses in Manchester, NH, and Sanford, ME. We care about the health and wellness of our students. Interested in a professional training program? Contact us today to learn more, or to schedule a tour.