Between 2011 and 2019, there were, on average, 38 workplace deaths due to environmental heat exposure. So, it’s no secret that the summer months bring increased risks and new hazards to protect against.
From dehydration to fatigue, intense heat can cause a variety of health issues. And with increased chance of illness also comes and increased risk of workplace accidents.
Protect yourself by following these tips for summer safety at work. Don’t forget to customize these tips (where possible) to your processes and equipment. That will make them more relevant and memorable, meaning they’ll have a bigger impact.
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Summer safety attire and grooming tips
One of the easiest ways you can prevent heat illness and exhaustion is to dress appropriately. Here are a few tips related to attire and grooming in the summer.
- Wear lightweight fabrics for better ventilation.
- Keep long hair pulled back, away from the face and neck.
- Choose light-colored clothing to keep cool.
- Wear sunglasses in direct sunlight.
- Layer clothing so you can easily remove items if you get too hot.
- Apply a base level of sunscreen before starting work and reapply regularly.
- Bring a hat or other type of head covering to protect your scalp in the sun.
Safe work behaviors in the summer
Each season brings a unique set of factors to consider. You’ll have to adjust some of your habits and routines to accommodate changes in the weather. Consider these behavior-based tips to determine where you need to make some changes:
- Keep a spare water bottle in your car, bag, or locker so you’re never without water.
- Always check the weather before work and pack accordingly.
- Limit the amount of caffeine and sugar you ingest to avoid headaches and fatigue.
- Prioritize staying hydrated throughout your shift—especially in extreme temperatures.
- Take regular breaks in shaded areas, bringing portable fans to the worksite if necessary.
- Reduce your exposure by changing your schedule to less hot work hours (if possible).
- Eat hydrating snacks like cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, and oranges.
- Bring an extra set of clothing and socks to prevent blisters and chafing.
The overall theme of these safety tips is adequate preparation for all sorts of conditions. When working in hot temperatures, you need to be mindful of what you’re putting both in and on your body.
Having extra snacks, clothing, and water is essential for coping with long hours in the sun. If you follow these tips, you’ll be better prepared to ward off heat illness and other conditions throughout the warm season.