We all know the summer sun can be dangerous and sometimes unbearable. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, $100 million is lost in productivity yearly because of people’s inability to perform due to sun-related illnesses. Not only are the sun’s rays harmful to the skin, the sun releases tons of energy as heat every minute! It is important to be mindful of the hazards in an outdoor working environment because of the various dangers it can pose to employees. Below are a few tips to use as a guide when working in these outdoor locations.
It is imperative that workers take the necessary precautions to decrease possible risks and to prevent excessive sun exposure. Before working outside, Employers should do the following:
Train employees on how to recognize important signs and symptoms
Teach them the importance of being alert and looking out for one another
Show them the proper procedures on how to get the job done safely
Remind them to take breaks and stay hydrated
The weather and temperature for any working day should be checked and double checked
For employees that work outdoors during the peak hours of the sun’s presence
App finds the user’s geographic location and provides them with the heat index at any given time
Features an hourly forecast as well as occupational health and safety recommendations
The UV Index is also a good source to check the ultraviolet levels throughout the day
Ensure A Safe Work Environment:
The infrastructure of a workplace should be safe and suitable for all workers
Make sure there are enough shaded areas, water fountains, and ventilation within the vicinity
Have darker colored equipment to help absorb any unnecessary heat (the sun’s rays can dangerously reflect off lighter surfaces)
Try not to start off the workday with strenuous activities as this may lead to burnout and tiredness. Rather, begin with simple tasks then work your way up. This builds tolerance and endurance for the future. During work, employees should be aware of their environment and focus on the following:
Workers should take necessary breaks in between tasks
Employers should remind and encourage them to take these breaks
Be sure to rest in a shaded or air conditioned area and stay hydrated by drinking water
Clothing is the first barrier against environmental dangers
Protect yourself by wearing lighter colored clothing (this does not absorb as much heat as darker clothes)
Many heat illnesses can be treated without any medical attention but some could be fatal if not treated promptly. If concerned, check for the following signs/symptoms and proceed quickly if one has been detected.
Red or tanned skin
If you experience any of these, you may have developed a sun-related illness.
What to do: If any of the above signs/symptoms are shown
Stop and move to a cooler area
Drink cold water and loosen any clothing so the body can cool off
Apply cold water or ice packs directly onto the body
Depending on the severity of the case, immediately dial 911 or go to your nearest Nova Occupational Health Clinic
From Heat rashes to Skin Cancer, overexposure to the Sun’s radiation can cause a range of inconveniences for both the employees and the employer. It is important to take the right measures to protect the body from the harmful rays and excessive heat. The best protection is always prevention.
NOVA Medical Centers specialize solely in Occupational Medicine. With over 45 facilities across Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Indiana, NOVA strives to provide the best care for America’s workforce.