Working in Hot Conditions

Preventing Heat

Related Sickness

Working on the Job


Dealing with the Heat on the Job Site
By: The Working Man

In many parts of the world, working on the job site in
summer can be a miserable and even health damaging

Especially if a person has underlying factors that make them
more vulnerable to the heat, such as physical problems,
certain medications, being overweight or not physically fit,
necessary protective clothing, and the like, the ambient
temperature doesn't even have to be very high for problems
to arise.

The most effective way to treat heat illnesses is to prevent
them. Water is the first and completely necessary protective
item. Workers should be able to get a drink of water at any
time during the work period. The rule of thumb is that under
hot conditions workers should drink about one cup (two
hundred and fifty milliliters) of water every twenty
minutes. If necessary, portable hydration systems should be

Salt pills, on the other hand, are no longer considered a
good idea, say health professionals. If salt loss is a
problem, sugar-free electrolyte replacement drinks that have
been diluted half and half with water are now the
recommended supplement.

Some places such as welding jobsites or steel mills provide
their workers with frozen electrolyte replacement pops and
rotating jobs that allow cool off periods away from the
hottest work.

Other helps include improved ventilation, spot cooling with
fans or air conditioning, power tools to reduce the
necessity of manual labor, and work planning to avoid doing
the hottest jobs during the heat of the afternoon.

In areas where dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke
are a real danger, workers should be educated about the
dangers, and perhaps should be weighed before and after
working so that if dehydration is apparent appropriate
preventions are implemented immediately.

Checking the heart rate during breaks and making sure it is
not over 120 can prevent a heat crisis. A heart rate over
127 just after working should require that a rest period be
taken until the heart rate reduces to 60 to 80 beats per
minute. If your heart rate is as high as 145, don't work for
more than fifteen minutes before taking a rest.

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