Winter & Summer Safety Equipment and Protection
Heat Stress Prevention
Ultimately, heat stroke is defined as a core body temperature over 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat stroke is a life threatening event and 911 should be called immediately! Any delay can be fatal! However, there are signs of impending heat stroke, and many of the signs can be easily watched for once educated. Signs and symptoms include:
- Throbbing Headache
- Dizziness & light-headed
- Lack of sweating
- Hot, dry, red or flushed skin
- Cramps and/or muscle weakness
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Confusion, staggering
- Seizures, collapse or unconsciousness
Generally, treatment and prevention revolves around keeping core body temperatures within normal ranges, and this involves judicious policies around hydration, cooling (utilizing wet or dry cooling vests), and pro-actively monitoring staff for any signs of heat-induced illness including heat exhaustion, heat syncope or heat cramps. More detailed information can be found here.
Working on the job site during the summer provides for excellent light, clear weather, and potentially temperate work days. Your workers generally will enjoy the weather! However, so do summertime insects! Insects can be a minor problem, or a major issue with job site productivity.
Sunburn is a leading cause of Skin Cancer - and can be prevented by using sunscreens and sunblocks. Additionally, the Sun damages the skin, leading to lessor damage such as wrinkles and spots. Obviously the best way to prevent damage from the Sun is to avoid the sun exposure. However, this is neither reasonable or possible for most people. By utilizing hats with wide brims, sunglasses with UV protection for the eyes and, of course, Sunblocks & sunscreens with SPF ratings in excess of SPF 30 or better, you can protect yourself from the sun.
Frostbite & Frostnip Protection Tips:
Frostbite is the freezing of body tissue. Fingers, toes, noses and ears are typically the most commonly affected areas on a person's body. Frostnip is when the affected locations go numb, and does not lead to permanent tissue damage. There are two levels of frostbite. Superficial frostbite is when the outer skin is affected, and Deep frostbite is when deeper tissue levels are affected, such as the lower levels of skin, muscle and bone. Permanent damage is possible depending on how deeply the tissue is frozen. Depending on the level of frostnip or frostbite, the affected areas can exhibit pins & needles sensations, pain, burning and eventually numbness with a white, grey-yellow pallor or even black with severe cases. The skin may blister, and may feel hard and/or waxy.
Generally, treatment is to get out of the environment that is causing the issue, and to get out of wet clothing. Immersing the affected area in warm, not hot, water is then effective in less severe cases. Frostbite is not simply related to outdoor adventuring such as climbing mount everest, but can happen in more innocent situations like football games or other outdoor events.
Hypothermia is the reduction of the body's core temperature below 95 degrees fahrenheit. Hypothermia can lead to impaired judgement, clumsiness or, in extreme cases, death. Generally, the first sign of Hypothermia is shivering. It is important to realize that in the more advanced stages of hypothermia, shivering can stop and other more serious symptoms like drowsiness, progressive loss of conciousness or death can occur. The Mayo Clinic offers this list of symptoms for hypothermia. Prevention of hypothermia can include keeping yourself dry, insulated and properly clothed. This may involve the use of gloves, jackets and other insulated clothing products.
High Visiability Cool Weather Protection:
In environments that are cooler than 63 degrees it is recommended that cold protection be provided to workers. OSHA requires that High Visibility be warn in environments where traffic is present, and the High Visibility Bomber jackets satisfy this need by providing ANSI Class 2 protection, and thermal insulation for individuals exposed to cold temperatures. The newer style bomber jackets have a black band across the bottom, which helps address the issue of soiled jackets on the jobsite (workers often lean up against ledges and other obstacles, which leads to dirtily lower jacket sections).
Wet Weather and Rain or Incliment Weather Protection:
Water is often an issue in workplace environments which can lead to hypothermia (lowering of body core temperature). Water in particular prevents the body from maintaining its core temperature, as it wicks away heat, and removes insulating capabilities of normal clothing. By providing a barrier to water, you can be kept warm.
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