Beat Heat Stress

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Introduction

Hot summer time brings in a new dimension in terms of risk to the health and safety of construction workers. Heat Stress

Contrary to the popular belief, people need to take good care of themselves during summer months the way they do during winters. Heat stress occurs when the body fails to cool itself fast enough. Working outside incessantly during hot summer days jeopardizes health and safety of the workers causing –

·       Fatigue

·       Excessive sweating

·       High pulse

·       Giddiness

·       Nausea

·       Headache

·       Heat rashes/prickly heat

·       Cramps

·       Exhaustion

·       Heat stroke

·       Fever

·       Confusion

·       Skin dryness

Tips to Beat Heat Stress

Workers, the most important asset an environmental construction company has, can take following steps to prevent heat induced ailments –

·       Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Do not wait to feel thirsty.

·       Avoid coffee, aerated drinks and alcohol.

·       Eat loads of fresh fruit and vegetables. Certainly avoid greasy foods that make the body lethargic and do not go well during hot summer days.

·       Take frequent breaks retiring to shade for at least five minutes.

·       Wear loose fitting light-weight cotton clothes that quickly absorb sweat. They also dry quickly and keep the body cool. Use a wide brimmed hat. Ice vests, water cooled garments and wetted clothing may also be used.

·       Reschedule work so more demanding tasks can be completed during cool hours of morning or evening.

·       Update your knowledge about heat illnesses, their symptoms, treatments and preventive measures.

·       Talk to your supervisor if you're working in the heat for the first time, are not medically fit to work outdoors in summer or do not feel physically fit to work in the sun.

·       Use fans wherever possible.

·       Acclimatize to the hot working environment, particularly if you are new to the field. Acclimatization only helps employees get adjusted to high temperatures. However, persistent exposure to heat is bound to cause one or more heat related issues.

Employers' Responsibility

The law requires employers in the environmental construction industry to provide the following to their employees –

·       Adequate training to educate workers about heat related illnesses, precautions to be taken and treatment strategies.

·       Sufficient drinking water.

·       Shaded resting areas where employees can take short breaks at regular intervals.

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