July 2017 – Heat Exhaustion

By John Howell,

Toolbox Talks are designed to promote discussions about safety.

Heat Exhaustion

Cape Cod weather is known for its extremes. During summer months we can be exposed to heat exhaustion. Excessive heat causes accidents in many ways. It becomes more difficult to concentrate on the job, you sweat, you get tired and nervous, and begin making errors in judgment. When the temperature exceeds 90 degrees, everyone needs to be aware of the danger signs.

Guide for Discussion

How to prevent heat exhaustion:

-Avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine while working.

-Drink plenty of cool fluids and replace lost body salts by drinking diluted electrolyte beverages such as Gatorade.

-Avoid heavy, fatty-type foods.

-Wear light, loose clothing.

-Avoid fatigue; get plenty of rest.

-See a doctor if you are not feeling well.

How to recognize heat exhaustion:

-A person is dazed, staggers or becomes dizzy.

-Their face looks pale.

-Warm dry skin.

-There is a weak pulse, shallow breathing and a high body temperature

-A person is lying out unconscious.

What to do:

-Call for emergency medical assistance.

-Get the person out of the heat and into a cool environment.

-If air conditioning is not available, fan the person.

-Mist the person with a garden hose, get him or her into a cool shower or bath, apply cool compresses, or give the person a cool sponge bath.

-Keep the victim lying down with their head lower than their feet.

-Loosen the victim’s clothing.

-Give cool, nonalcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages as long as the person is alert.

-Have the person avoid physical activity for the rest of the day.

Untreated heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke. See a doctor that day if:

-Symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.

-The person is nauseated or vomiting.

Remember: Both heat exhaustion and sunstroke are serious matters. In both cases, the body is reacting to a life threatening situation. Do not take chances. Should you begin to feel ill, take a break and drink some cool water or something else other than an alcoholic beverage. Both injuries frequently cause a lack of consciousness; in our business, that can lead to a serious injury.

NOTE: Always promote a discussion on any of the topics covered in the Toolbox Talks. Should any question arise that you cannot answer, don’t hesitate to contact your Employer.



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