Preparing for Hot Weather by Steve Hadcock

May 29, 2024

Preparing for Hot Weather

Steve Hadcock, Team Leader Capital Area Agricultural and Horticultural Program

 

As I write this article (5/20/2024), we are experiencing some unusually warm weather. While I hope that some cooler and more seasonable days will return, we can expect many hot, humid days this summer.  Now is a good time to start thinking about how you will protect yourself, your family members, and your employees from heat-related illnesses.

 

  • Hydrate: Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after work. Aim for at least 1 cup of cool water every 20 minutes, even if you don't feel thirsty. For longer jobs, consider drinks with electrolytes.
  • Seek Shade: Find shaded or cool areas for rest breaks. Allowing your body to recover is essential.
  • Dress Wisely: Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. If you're wearing a face covering, change it if it becomes wet or soiled.
  • Avoid Heavy Meals: Hot and heavy meals add heat to your body. Consider lighter options.
  • Know Your Limits: It's important to remember that not everyone tolerates heat the same way. Pace yourself and recognize when to stop the activity. Take a break if you feel lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint. Ignoring these signs can lead to serious heat-related illnesses.
  • Sun Protection: When outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher). Sunburn affects your body's ability to cool down.
  • Remember, staying hydrated, taking breaks, and dressing appropriately are essential for preventing heat-related illnesses.

 

As an employer, here are some additional steps to help prevent heat-related illnesses in your workplace.

  • Heat Safety Training: Educate workers about heat-related risks, symptoms, and preventive measures. Regular training ensures awareness.
  • Flexible Schedules: Adjust work hours to avoid peak heat times. Early mornings or late afternoons are better for outdoor tasks.
  • Shade and Rest Areas: Set up shaded rest spots where workers can cool down during breaks. Encourage frequent breaks.
  • Hydration Stations: Provide easy access to water. Encourage workers to drink fluids regularly.
  • Appropriate Clothing: Allow lightweight, breathable attire. Hats and sunglasses protect from sun exposure.
  • Monitoring: Supervisors should watch for signs of heat stress and act promptly if anyone shows symptoms.

 

Here are links to some resources (posters, brochures, etc.) that can help you discuss avoiding heat-related illness with your family and employees.  

https://www.uky.edu/scahip/national-farmworker-training-program-nftp

https://deohs.washington.edu/pnash/heat-toolkit

https://www.osha.gov/heat-exposure/planning

 




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