Worker Summer Safety Tips

Grainger, a distributor of safety products headquartered in Lake Forest, IL, shares five tips to help workers in and around facilities stay cool this summer.

1. Drink water moderately, but often. Whether outside or in a facility with no air conditioning, drink small amounts of water every 15 minutes, even if you’re 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 always the best way to verify the best product. Some sunscreens with high SPF protect from UVB rays only, so look for one that offers UVA protection as well. If you are in an outdoor work environment where you risk bug bites, put on sunscreen first, followed by insect repellent. Also, be sure to check out the FDA’s new regulations to sunscreen products for more information on this topic.

3. Wear safety glasses with UV protection. It is not just 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, select a pair that offers UV protection. Many clear polycarbonate lenses offer as much UV protection as tinted lens, so research with your safety supplier to learn what glasses will provide protection and work for your functional needs.

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 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 you’ve been exposed to high temperatures and you become dehydrated. If ignored, heat exhaustion can result in heat stroke, which is when the body’s core temperature exceeds 105 degrees and starts to lose consciousness. When in doubt, call 911 if you or a co-worker 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.”

    For more information about how to prevent heat related injuries, review the OSHA Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers.