There’s no question that the summer heat can be dangerous if you work outside. Construction and farm workers, for example, may spend their whole work day outdoors. High temperatures pose an equal threat to some indoor jobs, such as cooking or manufacturing. Wherever you work, it’s important to avoid getting overheated or dehydrated.
Here are some simple tips to help you stay cool on the jobsite:
Cotton is an inexpensive and breathable material. Breathable fabrics allow air flow which can prevent excess sweating. Cotton is also somewhat absorbent, so it can soak up sweat throughout the workday. However, this fabric isn’t built to wick sweat away, which may leave you feeling sticky.
Polyester and/or Lycra blends are commonly used in activewear for their ability to draw sweat away from the body and move it to the outer surface. These “wicking” fabrics can keep you cool and dry in the summer. However, activewear tends to be more expensive than cotton.
Wool and bamboo exercise shirts are a natural alternative to wicking fabrics.
Use water to your advantage
In the summer heat, you should be drinking water or another fluid every 15 to 20 minutes, regardless of thirst.
Apply water or ice to the body
Take a few moments throughout your day to use either an ice pack or a small damp towel to cool yourself off. On the body, pulse points have a larger influence on overall body temperature than others. Place the ice pack or damp towel on pulse points that are easy to reach: the insides of your wrists, temple area and neck.
Change up your look
A hat and sunglasses will shield your face and eyes from the sun if you work outdoors. If you work indoors, a hat may help keep the sweat out of your eyes. You may also be able to purchase a cooling vest that’s lined with chemical cold packs to fight the heat.
Bring a change of clothes to work
Employers must allow their employees breaks. Talk to your supervisor about taking a moment to change your clothes during the day to stay cool. This may also be a great tip for those who endure a hot commute to and from work.
If you work outdoors, using sunscreen will help protect you from harmful sunrays. If you work in a hot kitchen, you can try using a chemical cooling gel stick throughout the day.
Employers must provide a safe working environment for employees. In hot indoor environments, this may mean installing a proper air conditioning system. An employer must also provide adequate rest breaks and water.
When a worker becomes ill due to heat, he or she may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. It is advisable to talk to an attorney if you have suffered a serious heat-related illness on the job.