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Ways to Handle Heat When Working in Dangerously High Temperatures outdoors?

As soon as summer arrives, weather stations give out temperature advice. For some workers, heat is a serious occupational hazard.

The human body is generally very good at maintaining an ideal temperature of 37°C. At any time of the year and under different circumstances, the body generates its own heat and avoids overheating by sweating. However, in extreme temperatures, when the air is as hot or hotter than the body, the body’s cooling mechanism cannot keep up. When the body can no longer cool itself properly, a number of heat-related health problems can arise.

Heatstroke and heat exhaustion

These are the most serious health problems caused by hot environments and a real danger to people who work outdoors in the summer.

In laundromats, restaurant kitchens and canning plants, high humidity increases the heat load. Either way, the cause of heat stress is that the work environment is likely to overwhelm the body’s ability to deal with heat.

In previous years, people died of heatstroke while working in professions ranging from farmers to soccer players. Heat exhaustion, fainting, heat cramps, and rashes are other less harmful health risks associated with heat that can cause temporary illness.

Know the warning signs

Heatstroke victims often don’t recognize their own symptoms. Their survival therefore depends on their colleagues’ ability to spot symptoms and immediately seek medical help and first aid. Although symptoms vary from person to person, they include dry, hot skin (due to an inability to sweat) or excessive sweating, very high body temperature (usually above 41°C), hallucinations, confusion, convulsions, and complete or partial loss of consciousness. . .

Signs of heat exhaustion include profuse sweating, weakness, dizziness, thirst, nausea, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, and elevated body temperature. Heat exhaustion can quickly progress to heatstroke.

How to prevent health problems related to overheating

• Avoid sun exposure:

Move some tasks indoors or in the shade. If this is not possible, erect a temporary shelter. Take frequent breaks in a cool or well-ventilated place to protect yourself from the sun and heat. Schedule hot jobs for the coolest times of the day (early morning, late afternoon, or night).

• Don’t be afraid to sweat:


Sweating is the body’s most effective cooling mechanism. Cooling occurs when sweat evaporates. In some cases, fans can be used to move cool air around the room and help lower body temperature.

• Adapt yourself:

Don’t start strenuous activities too soon if you’re new to the heat. It can take 7 to 14 days for the body to fully acclimatize (or acclimatize) to a hot environment. Start your work gradually, taking frequent breaks as needed. About half of the normal workload should be delegated to new employees or those returning from vacation or sick on the first day of work and gradually increasing day by day.

• Stay hydrated: Another Tip from Bixby Plumbers Team

Drink plenty of cool water (one liter per hour on average) when it’s hot. Drink every 15 to 20 minutes, whether you’re thirsty or not, to replace lost fluids.

  • Wear appropriate clothing:
    To protect yourself from the sun and heat when working outdoors, cover as much as possible with loose clothing made of lightweight, breathable fabric. When you work out in the sun without a shirt or hat, the sun dries your sweat too quickly and makes it impossible for it to cool your body.

    • Watch out for these signs:
    Learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illness and how to deal with them.

    • Have an emergency action plan:
    An emergency plan should include procedures for providing first aid and medical care to affected workers. Workplaces where heat stress can occur should monitor conditions and ensure workers are provided with specific rest periods based on measured heat levels. Threshold Limit Values ​​for Heat Stress and Stress, developed by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), provide guidelines for determining when weather does not affect effects on outdoor workers, when to be cautious and when to stop working.

It is more difficult to control the outdoor environment than the indoor environment. Prolonged periods of heat can make existing control measures less effective (eg:

workers may be transferred to other tasks during an extremely hot day or two, but the PCBU may not have the resources to postpone work during an extended period of extreme heat).

This means that workers are now exposed to hotter work environments for longer periods of time, and these more frequent and longer-lasting heat waves can introduce new risks and affect health existing control options.

Plan ahead: A Tip From A Bixby Plumbers Team

Determine the amount of hard physical labor that will be required, then make sure all necessary measures are taken to prevent exposure to UV rays and heat-related illnesses.

Control hierarchy

The PCBU should focus on the control hierarchy when managing risk. Usually a combination of controls is needed to get the best results. Including:

  • a regular work schedule to avoid working in the middle of the day, for example:

outdoor work is done in the early morning and late afternoon when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels and temperatures are expected to be lower,

  • air-conditioned hangar
  • awnings or awnings over the work site area
  • mechanical assistance to reduce the need for physical exertion
  • have an effective “buddy system” in place, in which workers check in on each other regularly to ensure they are regularly drinking enough fluids, taking breaks and showing no signs of heat-related illness. (Apps can help monitor workers’ physical symptoms – and can even assess any deterioration in mental state.)
  • easy access to fresh water – located near each work area to encourage regular drinking
  • access to crushed ice (to eat and use as a cold towel)
  • cooling vest
  • take frequent breaks – especially when the job is physically demanding. Break frequency and duration should be increased if conditions become hotter and/or more humid – take breaks for up to 30 minutes every hour, in a cooler place, to help cool down. • get more workers to do the work
  • work progress to meet the conditions. Whenever possible, allow employees to work at their own pace (set a pace that is comfortable for them).
  • reduce the length of the shift

Today’s Fun Fact From A Bixby Plumbers Team:

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