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How to Beat the Texas Heat

May 15, 2017 - Melisa Bedunah

 

With Texas spring in full bloom and summer quickly approaching, there is one thing you can count on: The weather is about to get hot. At least 20 days from July to August are expected to be over 100 degrees in many Texas cities. For some workers, the sweltering heat is just a moment’s inconvenience while walking across the parking lot. For those working in manufacturing or industrial environments that are not climate controlled, it’s a different story.

 

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has experienced the hottest start to a year ever, which can make labor-intensive jobs downright dangerous. Here’s how you can avoid the risks that high temperatures bring and stay cool during summer work in Texas.

 

Plan Properly

Taking just a few moments to prepare for extreme heat is one of the most important steps in avoiding heat-related health problems. It’s often the forgotten “little things” that make the biggest difference. Sunscreen is incredibly important in preventing deep sunburns that can hurt for days, not to mention protecting against skin cancer. Whether as a cream, spray, or stick, sunscreen is conveniently applied in just seconds and easy to throw in a locker or car cup holder.

 

Don’t think you’ll remember to apply sunscreen regularly? Consider purchasing some long-sleeved, light moisture-wicking shirts. It may sound crazy to wear long sleeves when it’s hot out, but these shirts are designed to keep your skin cool while protecting you from the sun. Best of all, they’re available nearly everywhere clothing is sold and are inexpensive.

 

But it’s not just your skin that needs protecting. Sunglasses are more important than many realize. Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause temporary blindness, so purchase a pair of shades with UV protection. Lastly, stay hydrated by bringing a large refillable water bottle to work so you’re never caught without water to drink. Workplace safety is important, and making the smallest of investments in these inexpensive items early in the year can keep you healthy and working all summer long.

 

Learn About the Dangers

Taking the right precautions will greatly lower your risk of becoming ill from the heat, but no plan can be 100% effective. That is why those who work in hot manufacturing environments must know how to recognize when being too warm turns into a deeper problem. Heat stroke is nothing to take lightly, and can lead to fatal health complications. To stay safe at work this summer, here are the signs that could indicate you or a coworker have heat stroke:

 

  • Dry, hot skin that doesn’t sweat in the heat
  • Feeling nauseous or vomiting
  • Confusion or slurred speech
  • Rapid breathing
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Severe headache

 

If you notice one or more of these symptoms in yourself or a coworker, it’s necessary to take action as it could indicate a medical emergency.

 

Talk to Your Employer

Do you know what to do if a coworker passes out from the heat, or where the nearest first aid kit is? Are you aware of your employer’s break policy? If you’re unsure about anything, talk to your supervisor to get clarification on these and any other related situations. You have a right to protect your health, and it’s especially important during the hot summer months.

 

Workers in manufacturing or industrial roles are tough, strong people. You didn’t get this job by accident. You got it because you can handle the physical work. While it can be hard to admit that you’re feeling unwell, this is not the time to tough it out. If you’re feeling ill at work for any reason, especially the heat, staying silent is the most dangerous thing you can do. Employers would prefer you to go home early one afternoon and get better rather than get sick and miss several days of work.

 

How to Beat the Texas Heat

Even if you’ve worked 25 summers in the same hot building, it’s important not to take things like heat stroke lightly. All it takes is one record-hot day, maybe where you forget a water bottle at home or overexerted yourself, to negatively impact your health. Here in Texas, we’ve already seen the first hot car death of the year, giving us a clear warning of the dangers ahead. Above all, for medical advice, health concerns, and to find out if any medication you take is affected by sun exposure, always consult your doctor.

 

If you’re looking for a manufacturing role for this spring or summer, view our jobs here.

 

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