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Summer is here, and you know what that means: heat, sunshine, and a fresh batch of workplace safety risks.
The third one probably didn’t come to mind when we said “summertime” but it’s an unfortunate reality for workers who are exposed to the summer weather. Here are three essential summer safety tips for the workplace that any workplace can use.
Outdoor workers are always vulnerable to the elements, but in the summer heat, their exposure is even riskier than ever – and dressing for the weather is even more important.
For most professions, dressing for the weather simply means dressing in light, breathable clothing that will keep you cool without presenting additional risks (such as tripping hazards). That said, you may not be able to wear clothing that leaves your skin exposed, both because the risk of equipment and the risk of sun exposure.
The trick is to balance dressing for the weather with dressing safely. Construction workers, for example, have to wear steel-toed boots to protect their feet. Welders have to wear heavy protective coverings. For this reason, companies should provide seasonally-appropriate PPE to ensure workers don’t overheat in the protective gear needed to keep them safe.
Hydration is a simple but essential tip to keep workers safe in the summertime heat.
Dehydration happens when your body doesn’t have enough water to function properly. How this affects you depends on the severity of your dehydration and how long the dehydration progresses unchecked.
One of the most common ways to speed up dehydration is by sweating, which is even more common in the summertime. Unfortunately, you may not replace the water you lose if you’re too busy to remember water, you don’t realize you’re thirsty, or you don’t want to drink water for some other reason.
A good approach is to take the pressure off your brain and operate on the 20-minute rule: drink water every 20 minutes, no ifs, ands, or buts.
Last but not least, don’t forget to account for the most basic feature of summer: the heat.
Workers exposed to the summer heat should have measures available to reduce the risk of heat stress. This means shaded areas to take breaks that are cool and well-ventilated. Workers should always have a cool area to step out of the heat if they need one. This may require investing in air conditioning equipment.
These summer safety tips for the workplace are just the tip of the iceberg. The truth is, summer safety is a constant undertaking – just like safety at any other time of the year.
If you need more tips to keep your workers safe even when the heat goes up, make sure to check out our blog for more essential safety tips, like these essential workplace safety articles to share with your team.
And remember: safety depends on all of us, no matter the weather. Let’s come together and take care of each other this summer.
Since 2009, the team at EHS Insight have been on a mission to make the world a better place. Join us by subscribing to our Blog and receive updates on what’s new in the world of EHS, our software and other related topics.
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