5 Ways to Stay Safe in the Heat
August is one of the hottest months of the year.
Swimming in the pool, walking through the sand, family barbecues, outdoor picnics, and walks in the park are just some of the activities people like to do during the summer and around this time of the year.
For others, their job may require them to be outdoors in the sun.
Whether you’re taking time out to have fun in the sun or if you’re out in the sun for work purposes, here are facts about heat and tips to keep both families and employees safe while outdoors in hot weather.
Heat Can Be Dangerous to Your Health
According to the National Weather Service, “excessive heat” ranks highest for weather-related death in the U.S.
“Heat-related illness, also called hyperthermia, is a condition resulting from exposure to extreme heat where the body becomes unable to properly cool, resulting in a rapid rise in body temperature,” per the CDC.
The CDC says that heat stroke and heat exhaustion are two of the heat-related illnesses that are the most serious.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include the following: fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramps, feeling faint, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms of heat stroke can include: unconsciousness, no signs of sweating, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and red and hot/dry skin.
Stay in Air-Conditioned Environments When Possible
If you can, one of the best things you can do to prevent heat illness is by staying in a home or a public place that has air conditioning. If you’re in a home without air conditioning, try to get to a friend or family member’s house where you can cool down for a bit.
Drink Plenty of Water
Please stay hydrated and make sure you have access to plenty of water. Avoid drinking alcohol when the temperature outside is high. According to the CDC, alcohol can hinder your body’s ability to regulate its temperature, which will put you at risk for a heat-related illness.
Protect Your Family and Your Employees
It’s important to keep your family and your employees safe.
Make sure you have the proper outdoor items for your family such as first aid kits, water, sunscreen, and access to a cool down spot when your family needs a break from the sun.
For employees, OSHA has a law that requires employers to provide a workplace that is “free of known safety hazards.” According to OSHA, employers should do the following to protect their employees during the heat:
- “Provide workers with water, rest and shade.
- Allow new or returning workers to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they acclimatize or build a tolerance for working in the heat.
- Plan for emergencies and train workers on prevention.
- Monitor workers for signs of illness.”
For more resources on how to protect your employees by industry, you can check out OSHA’s Heat Exposure Page here.
Wear Proper Clothing
Not wearing the proper clothing for hot temperatures can also put you at risk for a heat-related illness. When possible, avoid wearing too many layers, and tight and bulky clothes. According to the CDC, you should wear “lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing,” and try to do activities in the cool parts of the day when you can.
Take a Break
Never allow yourself and your team to go without a break when you’re outdoors in the heat.
Make sure you pay attention to the signs of heat illness and take the steps to prevent it from happening to your family and team when you’re outside.
We want your family and your employees to be safe during the hot days we will have left this summer. We hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer and keep these tips in mind the next time you spend time out in the sun!