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Don't let heatstroke cost you your employees this summer...

by , 11 November 2013
With the summer heat quickly intensifying, employers need to take care to prevent heat-related injury to their employees. Heatstroke is a major risk, particularly in those industries that see employees working outdoors (think construction or landscaping). But even if you and your employees take to the outdoors for some team-building fun, heatstroke is a risk. And there are specific rules for its treatment...

Here's what the experts at the Health and Safety Advisor recommend you do to protect your employees from heatstroke:

There are 10 precautions your employees should take to prevent or minimise heatstroke – share them with your employees today!
1. Allow themselves to become gradually accustomed to the heat by spending slightly longer in the sun each day. This usually takes one to three weeks.
2. Avoid strenuous work like construction work during the heat of the day. If unavoidable, ensure your employees have regular breaks and consume a lot of water.
3. Wear a hat in the sun (make this part of the PPE you provide to employees if you intend to have them work in the sun for extended periods).
4. Stay in the shade whenever possible, and park cars or trucks in the shade.
5. Take cool baths or showers frequently. This could happen during scheduled breaks, and if showers are available.
6. Drink plenty fluids like water, or energy drinks.
7. Eat a light diet.
8. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
9. Dress in lightweight clothing.
10.Keep a water bottle or thermos of fluid handy during work, exercise or play to make it easier to drink plenty of fluids.
And while prevention is better than cure, heatstroke can happen. Here's what to do if it happens on your watch.
Follow these three rules for treating heatstroke
Rule #1: Heatstroke is a medical emergency. You should quickly reduce the core body temperature because the duration of hyperthermia will determine the outcome. Except for the mildest cases, you must admit patients diagnosed with EHS or NEHS to the hospital for at least 48 hours to monitor for complications.
Rule #2: Once you suspect heatstroke, you must begin cooling immediately and continue it during the patient's resuscitation. Some recent studies have shown that promptly reducing the exposure time to excessive heat can dramatically improve long-term outcomes and decrease irreversible injury.
Rule #3: Remove restrictive clothing and spray water on the body. Cover the patient with ice water-soaked sheets, or place ice packs in the groin to help reduce the patient's temperature significantly.
There you have it. Practical steps you can take to protect your employees from heatstroke as things start to heat up around the country.

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