Summer is here and that means we can expect hot and humid weather. For workers who spend their time outdoors or in greenhouses, it can make for long—even dangerous—days. Heat illnesses and deaths are preventable, if you know what to do. That’s where a prevention program comes in, which Hortica is happy to provide.
- Provide workers with water, rest, and shade
- Allow new workers to gradually increase their workloads and take more frequent breaks until they’ve built a tolerance for working in the heat
- Train workers to avoid and identify heat illness
- Observe workers for signs of trouble
Normally, sweating counters overheating through the cooling effect of evaporation. High heat and hard work increase heat build-up, while high humidity reduces evaporation. These factors can combine to raise the body’s internal temperature to dangerous levels where heat exhaustion or heat stroke can strike. Here are some things you workers can do to protect themselves:
- Drink water every 15 minutes—even if they aren’t thirsty
- Take a rest in the shade to cool down
- Wear a hat and light-colored clothing
Working in full sunlight can increase heat index values by 15 degrees, so Hortica encourages you to provide your workers with extra rest and water breaks. Tasks that require heavy protective clothing or equipment can also make a worker more susceptible to heat illnesses. Be sure to check on them at regular intervals, but keep in mind all workers are at risk during a heat wave.
It’s important to understand the dangers of heat illnesses and the things you can do to prevent your workers from getting hurt, or worse.
For more tips read more at Hortica.
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