“Massive Western Heat Wave May Break June, All-Time Records This Weekend”

Last night the Weather Channel published an interesting article about this week’s heat wave that you should read: “Massive Western Heat Wave May Break June, All-Time Records This Weekend (FORECAST)”

“A brutal heat wave kicking in later this week may shatter June or even a few all-time records in parts of the Great Basin and Northwest. Furthermore, it may last into the first days of July.’Heat wave June 2015

“This heat wave may not only top daily record highs, but may also threaten record highs for the entire month of June, or, in a few locations, all-time record highs.’

“This is a dangerous heat wave. Take safety precautions against the heat.

Those playing or working outdoors, as well as those without access to air conditioning, will face an elevated risk of heat-related illness.

Remember to never leave kids or pets unattended in cars and drink more water than usual. Wear light-colored clothing and keep your head and body cooler with a hat. Take frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments.”

Heat Illness: symptoms and when to seek medical attention

It’s certainly been hot in the South the last few weeks. One of the things we stress around this time of year is staying healthy in the summer heat. This week’s safety topic is heat illness. Below is information on avoiding heat stress and recognizing symptoms of heat illness.

Preventing heat illness:
1. If you can’t avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day, rest frequently in a cool spot and drink fluids. When possible, schedule exercise or labor for cooler parts of the day. Also, limiting time spent in heat until you’re conditioned to it. It can take several weeks for your body to get acclimated.
2. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. This will help replace the fluid you are losing body sweat. Sweating helps your body maintain a normal body temperature in the heat.
3. Make sure your clothing is light weight and fits loosely. Wearing excess clothing or clothing that fits tightly won’t allow your body to cool properly.
4. Apply sunscreen often and liberally, because sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself. When possible, add protection with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

  Listen to your body, try to pay attention and notice when you feel overheated, weak, or irritable. These are subtle indicators that you need a break. Other, more severe symptoms of heat illness to watch for are dizziness, nausea, and muscle cramps.

Use extra caution when taking medications or have a condition that increases your risk of heat-related problems. Talk to employers, coworkers, family, and friends about your medications or conditions so they can help watch for signs of heat stress.

Also, keep an eye on those around you for symptoms of heat illness. If caught early, heat stress can often be treated at home or work with rest in a cool spot and drinking fluids.

Seek medical assistance for the following symptoms:
1. Nausea or vomiting that prevents rehydration. IV fluids may be necessary.
2. Severe muscle cramps that cannot be relieved with re-hydration and stretching.

Seek EMERGENCY medical attention (Call 911!) if an individual shows any of the following symptoms:
1. Stops sweating
2. Becomes confused
3. Has a seizure or heat stroke.

 These are indicators of life threatening conditions. After you call 911, carry the individual to a cool place, remove their clothing and attempt to cool their body with a combination of cold compresses, or spraying/sponging the body with cool water and fans or circulating air.

 Knowing the signs of heat exhaustion could save your life or the life of someone you care about. Share this information and talk about heat illness so that we can keep each other safe all summer.

Continue reading “Heat Illness: symptoms and when to seek medical attention”

Let’s Stay Hydrated

The typical signs of dehydration include fatigue, dry mouth, legs heavy or cramping, and often a headache. When our bodies are under physical stress we lose body fluids in the form of sweat. Dehydration and early fatigue result when we do replace fluid lost through sweat. This loss of body fluid can cause impairment of our performance up to negatively impacting cognitive skills. Therefore, it must be a priority to manage fluid intake when working or exercising in hot conditions.

Dehydration can easily be prevented when you we take the following points into consideration.
• Fluid intake frequency: Drink before starting work. Attempting to catch-up on lost fluids while working is very difficult, therefore, drink before getting thirsty. Once you realize you are thirsty dehydration is already setting in. The solution is to drink at regular intervals especially when it is hot and humid.

• The drinks of choice: Water is critical to staying hydrated. Others beverages that contain a mild flavor and small amounts of sodium are encouraged. Sports drink such as Gatorade and Powerade are also great choices for helping stay hydrated. It is recommended that intake of sports drinks be balanced with water to prevent an upset stomach.

• What not to drink: While we are working or exercising it is recommended that we avoid drinks that contain alcohol, caffeine or high levels of sugar such as soft drinks and fruit juices. These type fluids are slow to absorb and can potentially cause an upset stomach.
A very good question to ask at this point is how much should I be drinking? The answer is difficult as it depends on the person and the environment. However, a very rule of thumb is that if you are not urinating – you are not drinking enough to remain hydrated.

WELDING SCREENS – PROTECTION FROM ULTRAVIOLET RAYS

Most arc welding and cutting processes, torch welding, cutting and brazing, or soldering, produce quantities of ultraviolet radiation. UV radiation can burn the skin, and damage the lens of the eye. Flash burns to the eyes are extremely painful, and, can cause permanent damage.

Welders, other employees, and visitors near areas where arc welding is being performed, must be protected from the hazards of ultraviolet rays.  This can be done in two ways: by wearing the appropriate PPE, and by placing non-combustible or flameproof screens, curtains, or other effective barriers around the welding operation.

Welding hoods and special welding goggles with UV filters are designed to protect your eyes and face from UV exposure. Appropriate gloves and aprons must be used to protect exposed skin.

Welding screens are used to protect others in the vicinity of the welding operation, when the body of the welder or the shape of the steel cannot shield the arc.

This equipment used faithfully and correctly during every welding job will prevent UV burns.

Many serious eye injuries have taken place because workers or visitors to an area believed, as long as they weren’t looking directly at the welding arc, there was no danger.  But, ultraviolet rays into the side of the eye can cause painful burns as well. Always protect against this hazard.

Welding and cutting are safe operations, if you follow safe work practices.  If you try to take short cuts, or you don’t take the proper precautions, it will become a hazardous job.  Take time for safety and health, because you’re worth it.

 

 

HEAT ILLNESS PREVENTION

Summertime is great, if you’re in a pool or in the backyard relaxing in the shade.  But hot summer temperatures make working outside more stressful and dangerous.  This is information on how to protect yourself and co-workers from the heat and first aid measures in case someone becomes ill.  Heat-related illnesses include everything from uncomfortable heat rash to death caused by heat stroke.  In most cases, we’re most concerned with heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat Stroke is the most serious health problem when working in a hot environment.  The body is unable to regulate its core temperature.  Victims of heat stroke can die unless treated promptly.  Symptoms of heat stroke include: hot dry skin that is pale, mottled or bright red, confusion, unconsciousness, convulsions or coma. CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY—even before rendering assistance.  While waiting for emergency services, move victim to a shaded area.  Fan victim; loosen clothing and cool body down with wet compresses.

Heat Exhaustion is characterized by clammy, moist skin.  The victim may complain of headache, nausea, weakness or seem giddy. Move victim to a shaded area and have them drink water or an electrolyte solution.  If victim is not responding, call 9-1-1. Heat exhaustion may lead to heat stroke without care.

Heat Cramps are painful muscle spasms. Move victim to a cool shady area and have them drink an electrolyte solution such as Gatorade.  If victim loses consciousness, vomits or if muscle cramping is severe, seek medical assistance.

Ways to stay safe in hot weather:

  • Limit alcohol and caffeine (this includes coffee, colas and energy drinks) intake.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothing.
  • Wear sunscreen and sunglasses when working in the sun.
  • Eat regular, well-balanced meals, avoiding hot or heavy food.
  • Be aware that water, concrete, and sand reflect the sun and make it stronger.
  • Where possible, perform the heaviest work during the coolest part of the day.
  • Build up tolerance to the heat and the work activity slowly. This takes about two weeks.
  • Work in pairs.
  • Drink more water – about a cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes – Take special care when temperatures are above 100º F or during periods of high humidity.

Remember: Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water, drink continuously all day long. Little or no desire to drink, fatigue and headache results from loss of fluids.

Employees who are heavier, older, taking medication (even over-the-counter drugs) are more at risk of getting sick when working in hot weather.

Stay alert for early symptoms of excessive exposure to heat and tell you supervisor if you or a co-worker are experiencing any symptoms of heat –related illness.