June 1, 2016 |
The summer is an excellent time of year to get things done with your business. The warmer weather and longer days can often provide a positive charge to the work environment. Many business owners see their productivity and profitability rise with the temperatures, but there is also a need for concern. Like other times of the year, safety is a factor that needs to be considered in the summer months. Summer, however, brings a unique set of challenges.
Although it is possible for injuries to take place at any time of the year, the injury rate is higher during the months of June, July and August. It’s important to review your responsibilities for workers’ compensation and prepare for safety in the workplace during summer months. The nature of the injuries may be similar throughout the year, such as sprains, strains, fractures and wounds but in the summer, heat related injuries play a significant part as well. Those summertime injuries include dehydration, hyperthermia and heatstroke. There are even some workers who die as a result of heat exposure.
Like any issue involving safety in the workplace, summertime injuries and accidents are preventable. By simply taking a few preventative measures, it is possible to avoid many of these difficulties. In addition, these preventative actions are not only beneficial because they prevent accidents; it also improves the comfort of your employees, thereby improving productivity.
The body requires a stable temperature of 98.6° in order to maintain a level of health. During the hot summer months, it is necessary for the body to remove excess heat to stabilize the internal temperature. This is accomplished through sweating or through the circulation of blood to the skin.
As the body temperature continues to rise, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain that stability in internal temperature. The blood circulation is no longer effective in helping to remove heat and sweating becomes the primary way for the body to remain cool. Sweating is an effective way to accomplish this, but only if the humidity is low enough to allow for evaporation.
During the hot summer months, dehydration can quickly overtake an employee. As a business owner, establishing a hydration program where water is available every 15 minutes is imperative. Employees should drink water, even if they don’t feel thirsty.
Taking a short break during the hotter weather can go a long way in helping your employees to continue safely. It is especially important to rest during the first few hot days of summer, as it takes some time for the body to get accustomed to the heat.
Provide the necessary shade for your employees to get out of the direct sun from time to time. This could either be artificial, in the way of a tent or, if possible, some natural shade from nearby trees. The temperature is not necessarily lower in the shade, but being out of the direct sunlight can make it feel up to 15° cooler.
The summertime is a great time of year to get things done. You can keep your employees healthy, happy and productive by following these simple steps to ensure their safety in hot weather.