LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Despite the relatively low humidity in Las Vegas, the heat in the summer can still be brutal and often dangerous. Not everyone is lucky enough to work indoors. Many people have to work outside every day. Here are some heat safety tips specifically for people who work outdoors:
- Drink lots of water. Stay away from sugary drinks. OSHA recommends drinking one liter of water per hour. If your urine is dark, it means it is time to hydrate.
- Take the time to acclimate. If you are not used to working in the heat, start out slowly. For new workers, OSHA suggests starting with 20% exposure the first day and adding 20% each day. By day 4, you should be able to work outside full-time. Workers should take more frequent breaks during the first few days of extreme heat.
- Take frequent breaks in the shade or an air-conditioned area.
- Wear protective clothing. Wear light-colored and loose clothing if possible. Consider wearing long sleeves and pants. Carry spare shirts to replace sweaty shirts as needed
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat. Not a baseball cap. The hat should provide protection to your face, ears, scalp and neck.
- Use sunscreen on any exposed areas. Use the strongest sunscreen possible. Remember to reapply every 2 hours.
- Wear UV-protective eyewear. Look for sunglasses that protect from both UVA and UVB light.
- Use the buddy system. If you work outside with others, look out for each other. Make sure you know the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Know what to do if you notice someone suffering from either condition.
- Avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day. Work early in the morning or later in the day if possible.
- Consider wearing wet neck towels, gel-filled cooling neck scarves or cooling vests to keep body heat down.
- Eat smaller meals. Also, eat more fruit and avoid high protein foods. Avoid alcohol and caffeine since both are dehydrating.
SIGNS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION
- muscle cramping
- heavy sweating
- cold, pale and clammy skin
- a fast but weak pulse
- nausea or vomiting
What to do: Cool down immediately
SIGNS OF HEATSTROKE
- a body temperature above 103 degrees
- hot, red, dry or moist skin
- a rapid and strong pulse
- possible unconsciousness
What to do: Call 9-1-1
OSHA provides a guide for employers of people who work outside. You can find planning checklists, training suggestions, guidance on how to respond to emergencies and more on their website. Just click here.