Almost everyone knows what precautions to take in the summer, especially if one is used to spending the height of summer in a country like the Philippines. March is also Fire Prevention Month, which reminds us why we hear the sound of fire truck sirens more often these days. As we close the month and step into the potentially hotter days of April and May, let us bring our attention to workplace hazards connected to the season.
Fatigue is one of the top health considerations as far as workers and employees are concerned. If you’re out in the field a lot or if you work outdoors—I’m thinking of our delivery riders, courier guys, etc.—be sure you know that dehydration could set in more quickly for you. Fatigue affects concentration and judgment, so those working near traffic or those who operate heavy machinery should be extra careful. To prevent it, don’t stay in the sun for long periods and remain hydrated. Sports drinks are also an option since the body quickly absorbs them. Have some kind of salty snack handy so one can readily replace sodium and electrolytes lost by sweating.
Rashes and cramps that are triggered by heat are also common in the summer, especially for people working in humid places. If this is not managed, the person exposed to intense heat and humidity may suffer from heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. Prevention includes the avoidance of outdoor work during the day’s hottest hours, taking plenty of breaks, and staying hydrated. Companies must train employees how to recognize the danger signs and what actions to take to save a life, their own or a co-worker’s.
If one is already dehydrated, he or she would experience thirst, muscle cramps, fatigue, excessive sweating, and nausea or dizziness. So, companies have to make sure there is plenty of clean and safe drinking water for everyone at all times. It would also be good to launch an internal info campaign to remind workers to limit caffeine, sugar, and alcohol intake as these contribute to dehydration, and also to teach everyone about the physical signs to watch out for, like yellow urine color, higher heart rate, etc.
Sunburn and UV exposure are linked to skin cancer risk, so workers who spend a lot of time in the sun have to take the necessary measures to stay healthy. For example, covering the exposed skin by wearing a hat and sunscreen, using an umbrella, taking breaks, and drinking plenty of water. What’s clear is that companies should remember that the summer season poses different risks or challenges to workers. It’s very important to recognize these and to act on it so employees can remain healthy and productive during these cruel months. Enjoy the summer, but let’s all stay safe as we work and play.