July 21, 2021
Earlier this month, we shared our first Health & Safety tip from Bruce Baird, Vice President, Expertise for Englobe’s Atlantic Canada team. Today, we continue imparting some of that summer wisdom for those working outdoors in the hot sun.
Signs of heat stress
Whether working inside or outside during the hot summer months, it is important to listen to your body and learn to recognize the five main forms of heat stress and their symptoms:
- Heat rash – “prickly heat rash”, tiny, raised blister-like rash on the skin.
- Heat cramps – painful muscle spasms and excessive sweating.
- Heat exhaustion – headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea and clammy skin.
- Heat syncope – fainting while standing.
- Heat stroke – severe headache, confusion, delirium, convulsions, loss of consciousness and hot, dry, flushed skin.
There are various factors that can influence the onset of heat-related symptoms, including:
- Environmental conditions: air temperature, humidity, wind speed and radiant heat (sun).
- Intensity of work/workload.
- Duration of exposure.
- Frequency of work.
- Human factors, such as physical fitness, age and medications.
- Type of clothing.
Degree of acclimatization or becoming accustomed to the work and environmental conditions.
Important tips for preventing overexposure to heat and sun
Drink plenty of water (about two glasses of water before starting work and one cup or at least 250 ml about every 15 to 20 minutes during work) and get adequate nutrition.
Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabric like cotton. Wear a wide-brimmed hat. If a hard hat is required, attach a piece of light-coloured fabric to the back and sides to shade your neck.
Take breaks in a cool or ventilated area. Take more breaks during the hottest part of the day or when doing heavy work or if possible, schedule work to minimize heat exposure (do the hardest physical work during the coolest part of the day). Allow your body to cool down before beginning again.
Wear eyewear that provides UV protection and use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. You need to apply at least one ounce (29.58 ml) 30 minutes before sun exposure to ensure that you get the full SPF of a sunscreen. Re-apply it every two hours throughout the day.
We encourage everyone to follow these simple rules and to take your health and safety to heart!