During the summer months, having a job outdoors can be difficult at times. Especially if you have an occupation that requires you to be outside for eight hours per day. For those working outdoors in areas of the south, and the western parts of the United States, extreme humidity and heat can easily be experienced. Depending on the climate, and time of day, temperatures can easily rise to the high nineties, with heat indexes reaching the triple digits.
If you find yourself spending a lot of time outdoors this summer, whether you are engaging in a full time career, or a seasonal position that requires you to be in direct sunlight, there are a few things that you should keep in mind to ensure you are staying safe.
Hydration & Heat Exhaustion
The number one health concern that comes up when spending a large amount of time outdoors under the sun is heat exhaustion. For those with manual jobs, it’s important to take constant breaks, and stay hydrated. It’s suggested that 64 ounces of water should be consumed each day, and more if you spend most of your time outside. Find areas of shade where you can take your breaks, and protect yourself from the sun. Wear a hat, eye protection, and sunscreen at all times.
If you start to feel tingling, dizziness, frequent headaches, or nausea, you should immediately remove yourself from direct sunlight and fuel up on some cold water. Avoid drinking carbonated beverages or alcoholic drinks that could lead to dehydration.
There are many rules and regulations that are set forth by OSHA and other federal organizations to ensure workers are safe while on the job. It’s important to continue to follow these guidelines, amidst the higher summer temperatures
If you are a construction worker, you should invest in a new hardhat that doesn’t absorb as much of the sun’s rays. Darker protective gear tends to absorb more of the sunlight let off, but helps to protect your skin underneath from becoming burnt. Lighter colors tend to reflect more of the sunlight, and keep your body cooler when experiencing extreme temperatures. Also be sure you are still wearing close-toed shoes and boots that will protect your ankles and feet from any injury that could result.
As mentioned previously, it’s a great idea to ensure you are protecting your skin by equipping it with sunblock. SPF 50 should be used as a minimum; those who work longer hours outdoors should invest in sunblock with a minimum SPF of 100.
Be sure you are covering all areas of the body. The most common areas for sun damage include the upper back, shoulders, and arms. Make sure you are fully protecting yourself from the dangers that the sun can cause. Commonly overlooked areas include the tops of ears, backs of your arms, and ankles. In fact, skin cancer is commonly known to occur in males who do not apply sunblock to their ears. Taking the necessary steps to ensure you are protecting your skin now can help to reduce more serious problems down the road.
Other ways to stay safe
There are plenty of other ways that one can ensure they are safe while on the job. Getting ample sleep while at home, eating healthy, and regularly exercising can help to maintain optimum focus and energy while at work. During times of extreme heat, it may be difficult to keep yourself focused and energized because of the higher temperatures. Ensure you are staying safe by practicing healthy habits when you are away from work as well.