A brutal heatwave has swept across the world with birds falling from the sky in western India due to exhaustion and dehydration, unusually high temperatures detected in western Europe, and anticipation of a heatwave that could shatter temperature records across central and northeastern US. Heat has become a critical problem worldwide as even Australia saw its highest temperature of 50.7 degrees Celsius this year.
Millions of workers are exposed to heat in both outdoor and indoor settings. Thousands of individuals get sick from occupational heat exposure each year, although heat illnesses are preventable. Some cases are even fatal. In 2019, 43 workers died as a result of exposure to excessive heat at work.
Tim, a young laborer, fainted and died of heat exhaustion on a sweltering July day in upstate New York. He had just been working on a construction site for two days! Most outdoor fatalities (50 percent to 70 percent) occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot conditions because the body must gradually acquire a tolerance to the heat. The process of growing tolerance to heat is known as heat acclimatization. Lack of acclimatization can lead to heat stress, resulting in various levels of illness, such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat rashes. Additionally, heat can also make employees more vulnerable to injuries by causing sweaty hands, fogged-up safety glasses, and dizziness. Burns can be caused by accidental contact with hot surfaces or steam.
Tips for managing the summer heat at the organization
Heat stress is not only subject to outdoor work environments like agriculture, construction, landscaping, mail and package delivery, and oil and gas well operations. It can also occur in indoor work environments such as bakeries, kitchens, laundries, fire services, iron and steel mills, warehousing, and other manufacturing workplaces. Hence, irrespective of the nature of your business, it will be beneficial to follow these tips.
The best and easiest approach to avoid dehydration in the heat is to drink enough water. As a result, every employer should guarantee that clean drinking water is available to all employees in all work areas.
Shade and relaxation
It is recommended that workers take frequent breaks to avoid heat exhaustion, so please make sure there is ample shade and even a spot to rest at work.
New or returning workers adjust to working in the heat or acquire a tolerance, enabling them to increase workloads gradually and take more frequent breaks.
Prepare for the unexpected
No matter how many precautions you take, a crisis strikes at an unexpected time. As a result, be ready for emergencies at all times and teach your employees how to avoid them.
Keep a watch on employees for signs of illness or exhaustion and assist them in receiving the care they require before any serious harm occurs.
Tips for managing the summer heat on the road
Vehicle's cooling system
Maintain your vehicle's cooling system to prevent overheating, as the summer heat can put additional strain on your vehicle's engine.
Motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fuel should all be checked because they lubricate and cool your vehicle's parts.
Check your tire pressure as the temperature increases and the roads become hotter, to ensure they are not under-inflated. During the summer, under-inflated tires can overheat, increasing the danger of a blowout.
Air conditioning system
Maintain the air conditioning system in your vehicle since a cool climate is necessary for shielding yourself from extreme heat.
Stay hydrated, avoid sun glare by replacing wiper blades as needed, consider summer allergies, and use regular driving brakes to protect yourself from intense heat.
Finally, keep an emergency kit containing additional water, non-perishable food, road flares, a flashlight, jumper cables, and a first aid kit on hand at all times.
If you are in a dire situation, remember to SOS. When you press the SOS button, the emergency operators will automatically get information about your car, including its location and direction of travel. They will next ask for more information through your vehicle's speaker system in order to determine the nature of the situation.
Tips for individuals to manage the summer heat
Make use of a buddy system
When working in the heat, keep an eye on your coworkers' health and have someone else do the same for you. Heat illness can cause a person to lose consciousness or become disoriented.
Replace Salt and Minerals
You may replace the salt and minerals you lose through sweat with a sports drink.
Wear Proper Clothing
Lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing is recommended.
Take it Slow
Reduce your exercise throughout the summer. Make yourself at ease. Start slowly and gradually increase your pace if you're not used to working or exercising in a hot setting. STOP any activities if exertion in the heat makes your heart race and leaves you gasping for air.
How can SafetyConnect help here?
Sometimes when your employees are tired while on the road, especially in the sunny weather, it's easy to lose track of any changes in their behavior. This is where you can utilize our Driving Safety App to help you be cautious of any changes in behavior or fatigue that could disrupt their usual driving behavior or result in any at-risk behavior that could harm them and others.
Our multi-functional app could be used to add checklists, ensure driving safety, and we have an SOS button on every interface of our app for your employee's safety. You can have a checklist with some of the heat exhaustion symptoms such as Headache, Nausea, and Dizziness and if they are dressed appropriately and roll it out in our AI-based app. This will ensure that the employees refer to the checklist before starting a journey.