Heat Safety: Dangers of Working in the Heat

If you’re in our Southwest region, you know that Summer is knocking on the door…more like pounding. With temperatures already approaching 100, Arizona’s Summer has pretty much arrived. Because of this, we want to stress the importance of heat safety. When working in the heat, things can turn disastrous very quickly. We’ll talk more about heat safety in future posts, but for now, let’s talk about the many things that can go wrong if you are not practicing the highest safety levels when working in the Summer heat.

Heat Related Illnesses

summer sun causing heat illnessHeat exhaustion is caused by circulatory failure when working in warm conditions. When heat exhaustion occurs, blood supply to the heart is less than average, and the person may feel like they have reached their work limit faster than they would’ve in a cool environment. When experiencing heat exhaustion, the person should be removed from the heat, transported to a cool place, and convinced to lay down until their body reaches normal temperatures. This is not usually a concerning problem unless the person has pre-existing conditions.

Heat stroke is the most dangerous and serious ailment that can arise from unsafely working in the heat. Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises too high, so the body stops sweating and regulatory functions cease. Warning signs of heat stroke include: headache, confusion, fatigue, fainting, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and more troublesome side effects. If you notice someone may have heat stroke, the only solution is to get them emergency help as soon as you notice they might have a problem. Emergency responders are able to cool the body temperature down to prevent brain damage.

Heat cramps are caused mostly by losing electrolytes during sweating. Heat cramps reveal themselves in the form of pain in the muscles with spasms in the limbs, stomach, and back. When a person experiences heat cramps, they should get out of the heat and take a sufficient break to calm their muscles. Extra salt consumption is also advised when working in hot conditions to help your body retain the salt lost in sweat.

Again, working in the heat requires extreme care and preparation to maintain proper safety to prevent any of these heat ailments from occurring. At PPC, we know you all know the proper safety procedures to follow, but you can never hear about heat safety too much. Look for more posts coming shortly about heat illness prevention, proper clothing to wear in the heat, and how to maintain a safe environment while working in the hot Summer.