Safety Tips Construction Heat stress Seasonal safety: Summer Weather Wellness Workplace exposure

Stay hydrated when working in the heat


Photo: MengWen Guo/iStockphoto

Working outdoors in the heat puts you at risk of becoming dehydrated. But what exactly does that mean?

The Texas Department of Insurance’s Division of Workers’ Compensation describes dehydration as the body’s loss of fluids and electrolytes. Our organs, including our kidneys, brain and heart, can’t function without these fluids.

“It is vital for employees who work in hot environments to monitor their fluid intake and guard against dehydration in the workplace,” TDI says. “Early intervention is the best prevention for dehydration.”

According to OSHA, employers should be providing cold water for workers to drink.

“For short jobs, cool potable water is sufficient,” OSHA advises. “Workers should be encouraged to drink at least one cup (8 ounces) of water every 20 minutes while working in the heat – not just if they are thirsty.

"For longer jobs that last more than two hours, employers should provide electrolyte-containing beverages such as sports drinks.”

In addition, “Water or other fluids provided by the employer should not only be cool, but should also be provided in a location that is familiar to the workers, near the work, easy to access, and in sufficient quantity for the duration of the work.”

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