-Written by Erik Sargent
The dog days of summer are officially upon us, as the weather is at season highs around most regions of the country.
The rising temperatures affect all of us in one way or another, but they particularly affect people who work labor-related jobs, particularly those spent exerting energy outdoors. Working in the elements provides a whole new list of challenges for workers, and brings an important factor into play – heat stress.
Heat stress can come in many different forms, from causing dehydration to cramps, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and so on.
“During the warm season, it’s important to understand that exposure to heat can cause serious illness or death,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. in an OSHA Press Release.
It’s important for people who are working in the summer heat to be educated on what they should and shouldn’t do in preparation, and to learn what methods can help protect their body from heat stress suffering
Be smart, be prepared
“I think people would be surprised how much they lose in sweat and how much body fluid they can lose, so they don’t drink as much as they need to,” said Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Specialist David Geier.
Geier – who is located in Charleston, S.C. – currently serves as the Communications Council Chair for the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine Board of Directors, and after spending eight years as the Director of MUSC Sports Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, started his own medical practice. He primarily deals with athletics, and has a wealth of experience dealing with people who are exerting energy in the heat.
“[For those working], your goal should be to end your shift at the same weight you were at the beginning, so you have to drink that much water or sports drinks,” Geier said. “I think one important step is just making sure you drink enough during your shift, and drinking enough [fluid] throughout the day. It’s very important.”
It’s often something that can get overlooked or passed by as obvious, but Geier stressed how important proper hydration – both during work and before – can be to the health of someone trying to avoid heat stress.
Another major factor that can prevent heat illness? A proper diet.
“I would also recommend that when people are on a break, they try their hardest to eat healthy foods,” Geier said. “Fast foods tend to have a lot of salt, and that can make hydration more of a challenge. If possible, stick to fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins, things like that.”
Along with the proper diet, Geier recommended that people working in the heat wear light-colored, breathable clothing that allows them to cool off better while working. Other things like taking breaks when possible, avoiding direct sunlight when possible, and spending time in the shade are also encouraged.
But above all, one of the most important things people can do is be aware and in communication with those around you – don’t avoid speaking up if something isn’t right.
“The thing we see a lot is people not letting someone know they aren’t feeling good,” Geier said. “They don’t take breaks or go get in the shade, and at first it starts out as just sweating a lot, but it can very quickly turn into a dangerous situation. If someone is starting to seem dizzy or confused, pull them out of the heat and get them into a cool area.”
Staying cool while on the move
At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, the dedicated movers and drivers that make up our 350-plus franchise locations are what drives our brand to reach new customers and make a difference.
With the summer months being the busiest time for moving, it’s inevitable that our movers will be spending long hours working in intense heat – from being in the back of moving trucks to moving up and down long flights of stairs, in old houses, and so on. Movers and drivers who are out on a home move are provided with the necessary refreshments and resources to ensure they’re able to stay in top shape as they work hard to move customers forward.
“We load up on refreshments and other items to recognize our guys working hard,” said Brooke Wilson, a multi-unit franchisee with locations in Georgia and North Carolina.
For Wilson and her TWO MEN AND A TRUCK moving teams, being located in the south means they are working in temperatures that can often exceed triple digits. It’s crucial for these movers to stay hydrated and stay cool.
“The busiest moving weeks [for us] typically fall on the hottest weeks in North Carolina and Georgia,” Wilson said. “So this year, we stocked up on cooling towels, refreshments, cool wipes, and water balloons. It’s all about keeping the teams hydrated and motivated.”
Don’t ignore the signs
As the “Movers Who Care®”, we want to help as many people as we can – and that includes those team members who work hard in the extreme heat!
We’ve created an informative graphic showing what people should be focused on while working in the heat. For more important information on tips and tricks to stay cool and safe, visit this page from OSHA.
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.
3 thoughts on “Hydration and diet are key to staying safe while working in summer heat”
Don’t have a problem with this I agree with it