Employee Safety for Outdoor Jobs During PA’s Spring and Summer
Outdoor jobs have many benefits. They’re hands-on, exposed to fresh air, and during the spring and summer can be a frequent source of Vitamin D.
But outdoor careers have their hazards as well. And in the PA area, we can often miss or forget some of these.
Let’s take a look at three common safety hazards of outdoor work and how to respond to them. You may have heard some of these tips before, but do you know what actually makes them worthwhile?
While we all can appreciate some natural vitamin D and a nice tan, it’s important to approach interaction with sunlight, directly and indirectly, with caution.
-Apply sunscreen before your shift during the spring, summer, and maybe even fall. Most importantly, do not neglect the sunscreen if it’s cloudy, you can still a pretty painful sunburn. Use SPF 30 or 50 and make sure it’s water resistant. Manual jobs and direct sun both often lead to sweat. If you sweat of all your sunscreen, it won’t be able to do its job.
-If you can, wear a hat and/or sunglasses. The hat will serve as a second line of defensive, after sunscreen, for your head and face. When purchasing glasses, buy a pair that’s UV protected. Style may matter, but it shouldn’t be your first goal with these.
-If you have a choice in what you wear or your run the show, consider organic clothing, made of something like cotton. This type of material has better airflow than others, helping to keep the heat off of you.
-Try to schedule your day where any indoor work is completed/your lunch break is taken between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays tend to be most powerful.
Approximately 60 percent of the human body is made up on water, with the brain and heart being closer to 75 percent. In order to remain healthy and well-functioning, you need to maintain that water. Hard work, heat and natural excretion deplete this water. Therefore, it’s necessary to rehydrate frequently.
-Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to take a water break. If you’re thirsty, that means you’re experiencing symptoms of dehydration
-Tempting as that morning coffee might be, it’s a better choice to start your day with protein and vitamin C. These will help your energy level without flushing the water from your system.
-Small amounts of water consumed frequently is the way to go. Ingesting a gallon at lunch won’t have the same effect. If you’re running a business, you may find your employees are actually more productive during their work time if you require water breaks every couple hours.
-While it may not be possible in every job, take along a water bottle if you can. Ideally, you should drink those small helpings of water about every 20 minutes.
-Try a Gatorade or an electrolyte-added water.
– Cool water is healthiest. Although ice cold water hydrates some, the body doesn’t absorb it as well because it causes constriction among the stomach’s blood vessels.
Creepy crawlers can sometimes do more damage than an itchy bite. In fact, some can pose big-time health hazards, such as Lyme disease, West Nile and more. With an outside job, you have an increased risk of being exposed to one of these dangers. There are, however, a few ways to avoid them as well.
-When it’s not too warm, wear long sleeves, pants and boots. Tuck your pants into your boots.
-Use insect and tick repellants, especially during insect-heavy seasons.
-Light colored clothing can help you recognize ticks faster.
-Keep up good hygiene and conduct a body examination when you’ve been in areas prone to ticks; shower every day, ideally right after a shift.
-If you do find a tick, don’t believe the hot match myth. Use detailed tweezers to quickly remove the problem.
These may seem like simple steps, and you might already by applying some of them. As for the one’s you aren’t, it’s likely time to evaluate why.