Outdoor workers can be exposed to hot and humid conditions and are at risk of special hazards. Employers and employees should know the potential hazards in their workplaces and how to manage them.
Sun: Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Be especially careful if you burn easily, or have any of the following physical features; numerous / irregular / or large moles, freckles, fair skin, or blond, red, light brown hair.
Action: Cover up. Wear tightly woven clothing that you can’t see through.
- Use sunscreen. A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays. Be sure to follow application directions on the bottle or tube.
- Wear a hat. A wide brim hat, not a baseball cap, works best because it protects the neck, eyes, ears, forehead, nose, and scalp.
- Wear UV-absorbent shades. Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive, but they should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation. Before you buy, read the product tag or label.
- Limit exposure. UV rays are most intense between 10:00 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may develop suddenly or over time, especially with prolonged periods of exercise. Possible heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include:
- Cool, moist skin with goose bumps.
- Heavy sweating.
- Weak, rapid pulse.
- Low blood pressure upon standing.
- Muscle cramps.
If you are with someone showing signs of heat exhaustion, seek immediate medical attention if he or she becomes confused or agitated, loses consciousness, or is unable to drink. They will need immediate cooling and urgent medical attention if their core body temperature reaches 104°F (40°C) or higher.
The body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating isn’t enough. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels. You can suffer from heat
exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Drink plenty of water before you get thirsty.
- Wear lightweight, breathable clothing.
- Check with your doctor to make sure your medications and heat
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol or large amounts of sugar.
- Take frequent short breaks in cool shade.
- Don’t exceed your physical capabilities and give yourself time to
become acclimated to the activity.
Hot Links to Cool Information
OSHA – Water. Rest. Shade.
NOAA – Heat Wave: A Major Summer Killer
OSHA Heat Smartphone App