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Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are no laughing matters. These two potentially fatal conditions are easily avoided yet affect thousands of workers who were either unprepared or under prepared for the conditions of the day. Safety equipment and preparation should include tools and resources for your workers' hydration needs; as well as other environmental concerns such as high winds, flying debris, and rain, hail, snow, or sun exposure. Heat exhaustion can happen at any time of the year anywhere, making it vital that your staff has the equipment they need to keep them prepared for any situation on hand at all times.

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Why should you be Concerned?

According to the United States Department of Labor, OSHA Division website, in 2014, 2,630 workers were affected by heat-related illnesses, and of those 18 people died. It is because of these kinds of statistics for an easily preventable life-threatening situation that OSHA requires all employers to provide heat protection to their employees who will or could potentially be exposed to excessive heat conditions. This includes providing:

  • Access to Water and Shade

  • Additional Breaks to Recover from Heat before Overheating Occurs

  • An Emergency Plan for Heat Illnesses should they Happen

  • Trained Workers to Recognize Signs and Implement Prevention Protocols

Who does this affect?

Now that you know why this is such an important concern, you need to know who is at risk. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion affects anyone who works outdoors during high temperatures, performs the excessive physical activity in moderate to high temperatures, inside non-air-conditioned buildings that become extremely hot throughout the day, or around heat expelling equipment such as production plants or assembly lines. Some professions that this would easily target are:

  • Cleaners or Industrial Laundry Services

  • Farm Workers

  • Road Crews

  • Line Workers (Especially those in Remote Locations)

  • Machine shops

  • Factories

  • Construction Crews

  • Gardening and Landscape Maintenance Workers

In addition to those professionals listed above, according to the CDC, anyone who has heart issues, kidney issues, is overweight, take medications, have high blood pressure, or is 65 years of age or older fall into a significantly higher risk bracket than those who do not have these conditions or are younger.

Types of Heat Illness Prevention Equipment

The equipment used to minimize heat-induced illnesses while on the job has improved exponentially from the days of simply pouring a bucket of water over your head. With new science has come new technology, and that has brought about improved products to help you keep your employees safe from heat illnesses.

Some of the more basic heat protection gear are moisture wicking hats, bandanas, and outerwear that protect from the sun’s rays while lowering the body’s temperatures caused by high temperatures combined with physical activity. Although hats and outerwear may not seem to be a new technology the stronger, more lightweight materials that these items are made of is derived from modern advances in textiles.

Harness Hydration Systems are another way that technology has helped in the battle of the heat. The hydration harness comes in a variety of sizes and styles, however, for the work zone the backpack, or back mounted versions are preferable. Some of the features include:

  • 1.5 liter (50 oz.) Reservoir

  • Ergonomic Front Clip Shoulder Straps

  • Nylon Zippered Carry Case

  • Two Hose Ports

  • Bite Valves

  • Anti-Microbial Materials

  • Fast Release Hose

These are only a few of the basic features that you can find in the hydration harness product lines. You will find that these products come with different strap configurations, reservoir sizes, and colors as well.

Other Preventive Measures

Water is essential when it comes to hydration there are multiple things to consider. Without electrolytes, the body cannot process fluid intake efficiently. When you sweat heavily, your body purges electrolytes thus giving your sweat that salty taste. That is why it is equally as important when rehydrating on excessively hot days or during extreme heat situations where you will be sweating more than normal to replenish those electrolytes in equal proportion to your water intake.

One way to replace electrolytes is through sports drinks, such as Gatorade. These types of drinks are specially balanced to replenish those electrolytes that your body is flushing out. However, due to the high sugar content, it is best to alternate these types of drink with water for the healthiest combination of rehydration.

Sports drinks come in a variety of flavors and convenient packaging to make transporting these beverages lightweight and easily portable. Some of the options you will find are individual sized containers, bulk cases, and powder that you mix with water. These powder packs are available in both canisters and individual packets that fit easily into your pocket for later use. The downside is you will still have to have access to or carry your own water to mix them with; which is still more convenient that carrying both bottled water and bottled sports drinks.

Choosing Companies that Care about You

It is important to remember that not all manufacturers, products, and retailers are the same. You want to know where your products are made and what they are made from, especially when it has to do with anything you or your staff will be ingesting. That is why you always want to buy your equipment and products from a trustworthy, reputable distributor or retailer who takes your employees’ safety seriously.

Harness Land knows how important your workers' safety is to you and your business. That is why they only sell the products for which they are authorized dealers; and they only go through the authorization process with reputable, reliable, conscientious companies like themselves.

Harness Land has spent many years learning the business of safety equipment that includes fall protection systems, fall arrest systems, eye protection, hearing protection, lifting equipment, safety apparel, and hydration accessories. They take every aspect of your staff's safety into account when reviewing and creating their product line to ensure that they offer the items you need to keep your employees safe and happy on the job site.