It's Getting Hot Out There

I just heard a story about a landscape professional that had been pushing himself all day in this kind of heat.  He didn’t feel any signs of dehydration or heat stroke, he had been drinking water all day.  He went to take a break in his truck to cool off with some A/C and woke up in the emergency room.  At the hospital they put 3 liters of fluid in him and he was still dehydrated.  This weather can be very harsh on the body. 

PREVENTING HEAT STRESS

Work practices such as providing plenty of drinking water -- as much as a quart per worker per hour -- at the workplace can help reduce the risk of heat disorders.

Alternating work and rest periods with longer rest periods in a cool area can help workers avoid heat stress. If possible, heavy work should be scheduled during the cooler parts of the day and appropriate protective clothing provided. Supervisors should be trained to detect early signs of heat stress and should permit workers to interrupt their work if they are extremely uncomfortable.

Acclimatization to the heat through short exposures followed by longer periods of work in the hot environment can reduce heat stress. New employees and workers returning from an absence of two weeks or more should have 5-day period of acclimatization. This period should begin with 50 percent of the normal workload and time exposure the first day and gradually building up to 100 percent on the fifth day.

We know the work must get done, but as business owners we need to make sure our employee’s are safe.  What good is an employee if they are in the hospital for a day or two?  Having an educated foreman on all the jobsites to keep an eye on the employees will be a big benefit in the end.  For information on any safety issues or just general questions regarding insurance for the horticulture industry, contact Sean Leigh at sleigh@pi-ins.com.