Extreme Weather

Working in Extreme Weather: Hot Conditions

In the USA one can likely be exposed to extreme temperatures at both ends of the spectrum, especially if you work outside. Both excessive heat and extreme cold air-conditions that place stress on the human body. This can affect your health and your productivity so review and discuss your employer's policies regarding weather conditions.

Hot weather

Hot Weather

If the body temperature rises even a few degrees above normal one can experience muscle cramps, become weak and dangerously ill. If the body temperature rises above 105F it can be fatal. Here are some guidelines to keep a person cool in the heat.

Radio and television stations announce the heat index when it approaches 90F. The heat index is arrived at a combination of humidity and actual temperature. Working in the heat index of over 130 can be dangerous to life.

Precautions need to be taken when the heat index is high. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health suggests that workers exposed to extreme heat should adapt to their environment gradually.

Drinking water is the only way to replace the water you lose as you sweat. Make sure the worksite has drinkable water and you should at least drink 8 ounces every 20 to 30 minutes while working in hot conditions.

If you work eight hours in a hot environment it can be stressful. Be aware of symptoms of heat stroke which include heavy sweating, dizziness, headache, nauseous and paleness. Symptoms of heat stroke can also include high body temperature, absence of sweating with hot, and red or dry skin.

If someone on the site suffers from heat exhaustion, cramps or other signs get medical attention immediately.

Dressing survival tips

To survive the heat make sure you apply sunscreen to protect your skin and wear loose fitting clothes and light-colored clothing.

Warning signs of heat stroke may include an extremely high body temperature, red hot and dry skin with no sweating, a rapid strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness and nausea, confusion and unconsciousness. These conditions may signal a life-threatening emergency. Get a victim to a cooler shady area and try to cool the victim rapidly by whatever methods you can. Immersing them in a tub of cool water, a cool shower, spray with cool water from a garden hose, sponge with cool water and fan them vigorously. Monitor the body temperature and continue cooling efforts till the body temperature drops to 101 or 102 Fahrenheit. Do not ever give the victim alcohol to drink and get medical assistance as soon as possible.