With the onset of high temperatures and high humidity, it is important for employers to control heat stress and keep workers comfortable, productive, alert and safe.
In hot conditions, workers can lose up to 1.5 liters of water each hour in the form of sweat.
Hydration through the ingestion of fluid is one way to prevent your employees from suffering from heat exhaustion this summer.
Hydration experts from NIOSH and OSHA recommend drinking every 15 to 20 minutes -- not just during rest breaks -- to stay sufficiently hydrated and maintain a safe core body temperature.
This puts less strain on the cardiovascular system and can lead to fewer heat-related illnesses and injuries.
CamelBak Products, Petaluma, Calif., a manufacturer of hands-free hydration systems, offers the following tips for keeping workers hydrated and healthy.
- Drink before, during and after physical labor to replace body fluid lost in sweating.
- Anticipate conditions that will increase the need for water, including high temperature, humidity, protective clothing and difficulty of work.
- Keep individual containers of cool, clean water within easy reach at all times.
- Drink cool water, which is absorbed more quickly by the body, and easier to drink than warm or very cold fluids.
- Try carbohydrate/electrolyte drinks to help avoid heat cramps that can occur up to several hours after working.
- Avoid coffee, tea or soda, which act as diuretics, further depleting the body of fluid. Never drink alcohol while working.
- Even sedentary workers should drink eight 8-ounce servings of water each day.
by Virginia Sutcliffe