August Safety Tip: Hydrate, Rest, Shade

By Alexis Eades
Glass of water

Salty ocean air, toasting smores in a firepit, enjoying the last days of summer… it’s August, and we have an important safety tip for you!

Stay Hydrated in the Heat

For many of our employees, August is a hot month, with temperatures over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit in some places. We’ve all heard the advice to stay hydrated, but do you know why? Whether you’re outside on the job or in your personal life, staying hydrated can help prevent heat-related illnesses. Specifically, according to the Harvard School of Public Health’s website, staying hydrated can “ regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly.”

OSHA’s advice? They recommend drinking liquids with electrolytes, and regardless of thirst to drink at least one cup (8 ounces) of water every 20 minutes while working in the heat. Remember that water does not replace electrolytes, so to avoid muscle cramps and other dangers, take care to choose drinks that have them too.

Rest & Shade

OSHA also recommends rest in the heat. Taking breaks from working in high temperatures is important to keep your body from overheating. Managers should note that break length should be dependent on factors such as temperatures, work being done, and personal risk factors. Also, break length can be affected by the location.

Ideally, the breaks you take should be in shade, according to OSHA. They recommend employers to provide and clearly communicate where workers should go.  Some examples they list are under a tree, in an air-conditioned vehicle, a nearby building or tent, and more.

Ever wondered why air feels cooler under a tree? Besides shielding people from the sun, “as trees release water into the atmosphere from their leaves via transpiration, the surrounding air is cooled as water goes from liquid to a vapor.”

Why is cooling off important for you? Rod Brouhard, an emergency medical technician paramedic (EMT-P), says that “too much time in the hot sun can lead to a number of health conditions. This includes sunburn, dehydration, hyponatremia, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.”

Stay hydrated, take breaks, and find shade in the heat!

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