How to Avoid Heat Stress When You’re on the Job

Here at Williams Equipment, we believe it’s just as important to know how to take care of yourself as it is to get the job done. It’s the beginning of summer here in the Mid-South and things are really heating up! But unlike other weather conditions, summer heat doesn’t necessarily mean things slow down at work. 

Even during the hottest months of the year, there are projects that need to be tackled! Our team knows that you’re determined to get the job done, rain or shine, and we’re here to help. We’ve got some tips and tricks on how to avoid heat stress when you’re on the job this summer. Keep reading below to learn more. 

What is heat stress?

Heat stress is the umbrella term for a series of heat-related illnesses. Extended exposure to high temperatures can result in serious illnesses. This includes a series of conditions where the body is under stress due to heat, like: 

Each of these conditions has symptoms that can be harmful to your overall health. There are a variety of ways to protect yourself and those on your team from dealing with these, however. Knowing the signs of heat stress and how to avoid it can help keep you healthy all summer long.

Recognizing heat stress

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of heat stress and the illnesses that are related is the first step in being prepared. Stay up-to-date on the proper numbers and contacts in case you or a coworker experiences heat stress. 

Two common heat-related illnesses are sunburn and heat rash. These are pretty common, especially if your job involves working outside. However, they should still be avoided and tended to when they occur. The best ways to avoid these particular conditions are:

  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat
  • Wear clothing that protects your skin from the sun’s UV rays
  • ALWAYS use sunscreen!

There are three more serious heat-related illnesses to keep an eye out for:

Heat cramps

If you notice that you’re sweating more than usual during your typical work tasks, or begin experiencing muscle pain or spasms, heat cramps could be the cause. These tend to be the first signs of further heat exhaustion, so if you start to feel them, take the necessary precautions right away. 

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is the second most severe form of heat stress with symptoms ranging from heavy sweating and clammy skin to vomiting and dizziness. You may also experience a quickened, weak pulse, physical fatigue, and headaches.

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency and if you or anyone on your jobsite is showing symptoms, call 911 right away. Symptoms of heat stroke include: 

  • High body temperature
  • Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache 
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness

These symptoms can result in more serious consequences and should be addressed as soon as possible. Be sure that everyone on your team knows what to look out for and how to avoid these conditions to ensure a safe working environment.

How to Avoid Heat Stress When You're on the Job

Avoiding heat stress on the job

The best way to deal with heat stress in the workplace is to practice habits to avoid it altogether. There are some quick and easy ways to keep yourself and your team healthy and safe during the hottest summer temperatures:

  • Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
  • Take frequent breaks to cool down when you’re outside often. 
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. 
  • Wear sunscreen and the proper clothing to protect your skin. 

It’s important to adjust schedules and workloads when experiencing extreme temperatures. Having someone designated to keep an eye out for anyone showing signs of heat stress can also be beneficial, especially if you spend a great deal of time working in direct sunlight. 

Following these steps on how to avoid heat stress when you’re on the job will help keep your team protected and aware when working on jobsites during the summer months.

How to Avoid Heat Stress When You're on the Job

Protect your team from heat stress all summer long

Once you know how to avoid heat stress when you’re on the job, you’ll be able to adjust accordingly during the summer months. This can help you protect yourself and your team and avoid any potentially harmful situations. 

Whatever projects you’re taking on this summer, Williams Equipment is here to help. Contact our team to find out more about how we can help keep your work quick and efficient with the latest in construction equipment and accessories. We look forward to helping you have a great summer!