Safety should be the highest priority in any workplace. During the summer, outdoor work increases and so do the risks of heat stress and dehydration.
Dehydration puts strain on several areas of the body, including the heart, and affects core body temperature. Staying hydrated is essential to ensure more serious problems do not occur. A worker’s ability to focus can also be drastically reduced by just a 2 percent dehydration level due to heat stress, according to an article from Occupational Health & Safety.
If you have employees working outside, you should know the signs and symptoms that indicate dehydration. These include:
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea, dizziness or confusion
- Excessive perspiration
- Hot, dry skin
Hydration is key to minimizing the risks of dehydration and heat-related illnesses.
Here are some strategies to promote hydration:
- Have water readily available.
- Provide incentives such as reusable bottles.
- Set up a shelter and have employees take regular breaks.
- Provide appropriate and/or necessary personal protective equipment.
- Educate and train employees on heat-related illnesses and staying hydrated.
Additional resources on hydration are available from Safety and Health Magazine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.