As we enter into another scorching summer, safety becomes of the utmost importance, especially when your company operates outdoors. As lawns get greener, plants grow faster, and pests begin multiplying, more and more work must be done. Here are some tips for keeping your employees safe and healthy when taking your spray rigs out during the summer season:
Stay Hydrated: Everyone knows that when you’re sweating, you’re losing vital hydration and electrolytes. Some sports drinks like Gatorade help, but many people opt for chugging plain water. Either way, having a hydrating drink available at all times, along with cool, healthy meals, is a key way to staying alert and strong through the day.
Clothing Is Key: Long sleeves and pant legs, specifically in light colors, can keep you hydrated for longer, prevent sunburn, and cool you down. Wide-brimmed hats are also great for keeping your face and eyes out of the sun.
Early Risers Avoid the Worst: Starting the work day earlier can mean a possible 10-degree difference in temperature when working in the summer. Some recommend starting the work day as early as 6am, but avoiding midday times when the sun is highest in the sky is a great start.
Watch Out for Your Team: Keeping an eye out for the people you’re working with can mean a world of difference. Maybe your coworker has been working with the spray unit and hasn’t had a drink in an hour or more. Maybe he seems to be a little uneasy on his feet. We don’t always realize when something is wrong with us, so checking in on your coworkers and employees could make all the difference. Employers may institute work/rest rotations and offer opportunities for heat tolerance adjustment during training.
Know the Symptoms of Heat Stroke:
Heat stroke symptoms can include confusion, fainting, seizures, excessive sweating or red, hot, dry skin, and a very high body temperature. If anyone displays these symptoms, call 911. Until an ambulance comes, place the affected person in a cool, shady area. Loosen clothing and remove outer clothing, and place ice packs in armpits; use cool compresses, and wet them with water. Make sure someone waits with them until help arrives.
… and Heat Exhaustion:
Heat exhaustion symptoms can include clammy skin, excessive sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, irritability, and a fast heartbeat. Heat exhaustion is much less concerning than heat stroke, but the affected person should be kept in a cool, shady area and given plenty of water. Cool compresses and ice can help greatly. If symptoms worsen or do not lessen within an hour, take them to an emergency room or clinic. Either way, don’t let them back at the spray equipment for the rest of the day.
Outdoor, physical lawn and landscaping work is already dangerous, but knowing how to take care of yourself and others in exceedingly hot summers can make the difference between hard work and a trip to the hospital.