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Staying Cool at Work This Summer and Avoiding Heat Stress

staying cool at workAround the United States, the temperatures are really beginning to heat up. For those of us working outdoors or in extremely warm indoor environments, now is the time to devise a plan for staying cool and safe on the job this summer.
Working a job that requires high visibility safety gear can be difficult in the heat. Ideally, you want to wear as little clothing as you can to stay cool - but sometimes that's not possible, especially when working with chemicals or materials that require specialized protective gear. There are, however, plenty of measures that can be taken to keep yourself cool no matter how warm the workplace gets.
Stay Hydrated
This might be a given, but it's also one of the most important factors. During rigorous work, your body sweats and loses fluids. In the heat of the summer, your body will lose even more fluids than normal and you can quickly become dehydrated. Make sure there's plenty of fluids on the job and try to stay away from super-sugary beverages like sodas and energy drinks as they can cause you to become even more dehydrated. Water and electrolyte drinks are ideal. Freezing a jug of water the night before and bringing that along to work will ensure you have a good supply of cool water nearly all day.
Don't Overdo It
Overexertion is a key factor to heat stress and heat stroke. While our bodies can surely handle the work, they can't handle it during extremely warm temperatures. If the body begins to struggle to keep itself cool, you run the risk of suffering from heat stress, heat stroke or even death. These situations can appear rather quickly and aren't easy to immediately reverse so be sure to pace yourself when performing hard labor or repetitive heavy lifting. It's never a good idea to push your body to it's extreme limits on those very hot days.
Seek Shade
Extended periods of direct summer sunlight can really cause your body to heat up, especially when wearing safety gear. Combine that with hard labor and a high air temperature and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. Make sure that you seek shade as needed and if possible have an area on the jobsite for cooling down. Depending on the temperatures, you'll need to take short breaks in the shade at regular intervals to cool down and rehydrate.
Get Proper Gear
A pair of shorts and a hives t-shirt might seem like the perfect combo for working during the hottest days of summer, but you're still going to lose fluids, heat up and face the risk of overexertion. There is an abundance of high visibility cooling products that have been specially designed to help decrease your core temperature and keep you cool so you can perform safely in the work place. From moisture wicking fabrics that help sweat evaporate to liquid filled cooling vests that can be worn under heavy clothing, there's no shortage of high visibility cooling gear that makes working in the extreme heat safer and more comfortable.
Stay tuned and be sure to bookmark or subscribe to our blog. We'll be writing about new products each week and providing tips to help keep you cool and productive in the workplace this summer.

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