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How to Combat Worker Dehydration in the Summer

June 22, 2018

It’s true that summertime brings with it more full and part-time opportunities for seasonal jobs. Outdoor work is at an all-time high, and because there’s more people working for the next couple of months, workplace incidents are also on the rise. Slips and falls are very common during this time of the year, but there is one particular risk that’s in full force: dehydration.

For those who work outdoors during the summer in industries like construction, painting and landscaping, working in the heat can be a serious problem. Forgetting to take breaks or not drinking enough water can quickly lead to dehydration and heat-related illnesses, which add up quickly in workers’ compensation claims. Even mild dehydration leads to decreased productivity, which is never a good thing when trying to get a job done on a tight deadline. To keep you and your fellow workers protected during the summer, here are a few tips to combat dehydration.

Recognize the Symptoms

Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount being taken in. Not only does the body lose water when we sweat, but essential salts and minerals (electrolytes) also decrease. When we fail to replace lost fluids, the body borrows water from vital organs, which puts them under strain and causes common symptoms of dehydration like thirst, dry mouth, headaches, fatigue, and dizziness.

Stop Working Immediately

If it’s a mild case of dehydration such as thirst and dizziness, taking a break and drinking water is the best solution. Find shade or go inside for a few minutes to cool down and rest. If it’s a more severe case with symptoms like a fever, having difficulty breathing, or feeling confused, the employee should seek shade immediately, preferably in an air-conditioned area to bring the body’s temperature back to normal. Sipping water, sucking on ice chips, and drinking beverages packed with electrolytes are all effective ways to replace lost fluids. If an conditioned space is not available, removing/loosening excess clothing and using fans or spray bottles are other ways to bring down one’s body temperature.

Seek Medical Care

For dehydration cases that involve high fevers, vomiting, chest or abdominal pain, and seizers, workers should be taken to the hospital immediately for medical attention. Failure to take them to the hospital may cause serious health effects that could have otherwise been prevented.

Dehydration is very easy to avoid with the right safety management in place. By taking regular breaks, cooling down in shaded or air-conditioned areas, and drinking plenty of water, employees can continue working at high productivity levels without concern.

Have you or your fellow employees been experiencing dehydration incidents and battling for workers’ compensation? We want to help. Contact our law firm today for a consultation with one of our workers’ compensation attorneys.