Working in extreme heat
Working in extreme heat calls for a minimum of precautions for you and your team. Here are a few simple principles to apply. If you’re leading a team in hot weather Working in high heat: before work – Assess the risk that heat can pose to your team: Type of work: muscular work is the […]
Working in extreme heat calls for a minimum of precautions for you and your team. Here are a few simple principles to apply.
If you’re leading a team in hot weather
Working in high heat: before work
– Assess the risk that heat can pose to your team:
- Type of work: muscular work is the primary cause of heat in the body.
- Working conditions: heat, humidity, sunshine
- Employees’ physical condition, habit of working in the heat.
– Develop a preventive plan:
- Make a plan of action: clothes to wear, water distribution – this can be as much as 2 to 3 liters per hour per person. In general, you should drink more rather than less, but not too much either, to avoid oedema.
- Organize an information and awareness-raising meeting for all your employees. Ask them to monitor their colleagues’ symptoms
- Install additional ventilation systems in at-risk buildings
- Organize first aid in the event of a problem with an employee
- Don’t forget that the law in your country probably governs the situation. In France, for example, a worker can refuse to work if he or she feels that the conditions are hazardous to his or her health.
Working in high heat: during action :
- Adjust the objectives of the job to the difficulty of carrying it out
- Plan one break per working hour
- Provide shaded areas
- Remember to install a water jet for cooling down
- Use fans
- Ensure proper water distribution
- Watch for signs of discomfort
- Know how to motivate your employees, but also how to listen to them.
If one of your employees shows symptoms :
- Heat cramps: thisis the most benign of problems, but you need to get your employee to stop and drink and rest in the shade.
- Intermediate symptoms: headache, extreme fatigue, chills, stomach ache. Have your employee rest, drink and refresh with water until he or she recovers.
- Symptoms of heat stroke: aggressiveness, confusion, dizziness, loss of balance, vomiting. In this case, call first aid immediately. While you’re waiting for them to arrive, try to lower his temperature (which can rise to over 40o) by all means possible: ventilation, cold baths or water sprays. Give water in small quantities if the person is conscious.
- Make sure you get a good night’s sleep, you’ll be in better shape and your body will react better to the heat.
- Wear light, loose-fitting clothes to let the air through, and light-colored clothing to better reflect the sun’s rays; don’t forget a cap or hat.
- Get used to the heat gradually
- Drink before and during labor. Limit drinks that dehydrate the body, such as alcohol, coffee or even certain energy drinks, as their diuretic effect is harmful and can cause headaches. Replace the cold beer with a large glass of water, possibly mixed with a little salt.
- Don’t try to play harder if you feel symptoms. Stop right there,
rest, warn your colleagues!
Evaluate your plan
Organize a meeting with your employees in which they take it in turns to take stock of the strengths and weaknesses of your actions, and draw up an action plan that can go beyond hot days to address the health and safety of your team members in a more comprehensive way. Feedback is the basis of good employee management and effective communication.