Summer safety tips to help government staffers beat the heat
June is National Safety Month, and Grainger, the Lake Forest, Ill.-based distributor of more than 1 million products, including safety gear, has put together a list of five tips to help workers stay cool this summer.
1. Drink water moderately, but often. Whether outside or in a facility with no air conditioning, workers should drink small amounts of water every 15 minutes, even if they are not thirsty. Avoid drinking large quantities of water at once to avoid sodium depletion, which can cause fainting, fatigue and cramping, among other negative symptoms.
2. Choose a sunscreen that offers full spectrum protection. A sunscreen’s SPF rating is not the only factor to consider when selecting a product. Some sunscreens with high SPF protect from UVB rays only, so look for one that offers UVA protection, as well. For staffers working outdoors, where they risk bug bites, they should first apply sunscreen, followed by insect repellent. Workers should check out the FDA’s new statements and regulations regarding sunscreen products for more information on this topic.
3. Wear safety glasses with UV protection. It is not just workers’ skin that needs protection while out in the sun. Eyes can easily suffer from too much sun exposure, so when selecting safety glasses for a job site, workers should select a pair that offers UV protection. Many clear polycarbonate lenses offer as much UV protection as tinted lenses, so do research with the agency’s safety supplier to learn what glasses will provide protection and won’t interfere with job tasks.
4, Choose lightweight clothing. If appropriate in the work environment, wear clothing that is non-confining and made of a light, breathable fabric, like cotton. When choosing safety accessories, such as a reflective vest, select one that is lightweight to avoid excessive sweating and warmth.
5. Know the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion occurs when one has been exposed to high temperatures and becomes dehydrated. If ignored, heat exhaustion can result in heat stroke, which is when the body’s core temperature exceeds 105 degrees Fahrenheit and the person starts to lose consciousness. When in doubt, call 911 when somebody becomes ill in the summer heat.
“Providing a healthy and safe working environment for your employees is important in managing a successful organization,” said Kirsten Elms-Kelleher, Safety Services & Solutions Development manager at Grainger. “Education and prevention are critical to keeping workers safe on the job this summer and all year round.”
Grainger has a safety catalog with more then 50,000 products in categories such as workplace safety, employee and guest safety, first aid and public safety, environmental safety and product safety. In addition to products, Grainger has expanded its safety services to include safety training and first aid replenishment.
For more information about how to prevent heat-related injuries, review the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers.