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Heat Illness Prevention

Steve Wagner

As the hotter months approach, we want to take this time out to remind all of you about heat illnesses, and the importance to pace yourself and take adequate breaks when working outdoors.

OSHA has launched a campaign to raise awareness and help prevent heat illnesses this summer, and they have provided numerous resources in both English and Spanish to help educate the public and prevent injuries, illnesses, and deaths.

This summer, when you are working outdoors, whether on a construction site or any other type of job, remember these tips to help stay cool and healthy:

  • Drink plenty of fluids: Most importantly, drink water. Sports drinks and juices are okay occasionally, but overloading on those can eventually dehydrate you. Avoid sodas and sugary drinks completely when working in hot environments.
  • Wear light, loose clothing: Wearing tight clothing can suffocate your skin, and prevent you from getting fresh air and enough circulation. Wearing loose clothing allows air to flow around your body, helping you to stay cooler.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants: Keep to the “loose clothing” tip, but wear clothing that covers the majority of your skin. Not only will this prevent sunburn, but it will actually help keep your skin cooler.
  • Remember to frequent breaks on hot days to drink water and rest in a cool or shaded area, especially if you feel you are getting too hot.

Remember to watch out for your co-workers this summer and remind them to stay cool as well. Watch out for signs of overheating, as your co-workers may not notice their own over-heating until it is too late. Watch for signs of sunburns, rashes, or seem overly exhausted, or confused. Also, remind those who are new to working in the heat to take it easy at first, as it may take a few days to acclimate to the heat.

If you or friend have been forced to work in excessively heated environments, and have developed a heat illness, contact the work injury lawyers at Wagner Reese to schedule a free consultation.

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