Tool Box Topics: June 2012
Tool Box Topics is a monthly “news letter” distributed to all Koberlein employees based on the discussions from the Safety Committee. This month the Safety Committee addressed issues involving heat illness.
KOBERLEIN – TOOL BOX TOPICS
HEAT ILLNESS PREVENTION
Hot summer temperatures make our work harder and more dangerous. This information is offered to protect you from the heat and to provide first aid measures in case someone becomes ill. Heat-related illnesses can range from uncomfortable heat rash to death caused by heat stroke. In our business, we’re most concerned with heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat Stroke is the most serious health problem for workers in a hot environment. It occurs when the body is unable to regulate its core temperature. Victims of heat stroke can die unless treated promptly. Symptoms of heat stroke include: Hot dry skin that is pale, mottled or bright red, confusion, unconsciousness, convulsions, or coma. CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY__even before rendering assistance. While waiting for emergency services, move victim to a shaded area. Fan victim; loosen clothing, cool body down with wet compresses, and offer water.
Heat Exhaustion is characterized by clammy, moist skin. Victim may complain of headache, nausea, weakness or seem giddy. Move victim to a shaded area and give him water (or Gatorade) to drink. If victim is not responding, call 9-1-1. Heat exhaustion may lead to heat stroke without care.
Heat Cramps are painful muscle spasms. Move victim to cool shady area and give him Gatorade or an electrolyte solution to drink. If victim loses consciousness, vomits or if muscle cramping is severe, seek medical assistance.
Here are some effective ways to stay safe in hot weather:
1. Limit caffeine (this includes coffee, colas and energy drinks) intake 2. Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothing. 3. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses when working outside in the sun. 4. Eat regular, well-balanced meals, avoiding hot or heavy food. 5. Be aware that water, concrete and sand reflect the sun and make it stronger. 6. Where possible, perform the heaviest work during the coolest part of the day. _ 7. Build up tolerance to the heat and the work activity slowly. This takes about two weeks. 8. Drink more water — about a cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes — Take special care when temperatures are above 100° or during periods of high humidity.
Remember: Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water, drink continuously all day long. Little or no desire to drink, fatigue and headache results from loss of fluids. It is also important to eat during the day. Lighter more frequent meals are often better in hot weather than one large mid-day meal.
Employees who are heavier, older, taking medication for high blood pressure or other conditions, (even over-the-counter drugs) are more at risk of heat illness when working in hot weather.
Stay alert for early symptoms of excessive exposure to heat and tell your supervisor if you or a co-worker are experiencing any symptoms of heat- related illness. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Take care to protect yourself and your co-workers from heat related illness.