Dizziness. Fatigue. Nausea. Headaches. Muscle cramping.
These are all common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, and many Yuma workers have no escape from high temperatures. However, there are precautions to take to avoid heat stress. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that Arizona has the highest amount of heat-related deaths, but employers can take steps to ensure their employees’ safety.
“Be proactive, communicate that there’s going to be be heat, that you should be taking breaks, and there should always be water available,” expresses ADOSH Assistant Director, Jessie Atencio, “Recognizing those signs and symptoms can keep them away from a dangerous situation—like heat stroke.”
Workers should be consistently hydrating throughout their workdays, and they should always prepare themselves for their next workday as well.
“All day long, you know. When you get home after work is usually when you’re the thirstiest and you’re drinking a lot of water over the course of the evening,” states George Padrone, Equipment Manager at Cemex. “But try to drink water before you get thirsty. You don’t want to wait until the point where your mouth is dry and you’re dehydrated. You want to drink water before you’re dehydrated.”
OSHA urges employers to split up their employees’ schedules into grouped hours to prevent them from getting overwhelmed and exhausted from the heat. In addition, employees are urged to wear loose-fitting clothing and hard hats to keep them safe from the sun and from physical injury.
Implementing these measures does not hinder productivity, and partnering companies stress workers’ safety above scheduling needs, always. “The biggest thing that we want to hedge is shortcuts. Guys who take shortcuts and don’t take follow the safety procedures in place end up getting hurt and schedule gets affected,” shares John Kovesdy, Project Engineer at McCarthy Building Companies. “But most importantly, they end up getting hurt. We want to make sure that everything is taken care of at the safest possible working measures.”
OSHA can provide audits for employers without citations or penalties—ensuring a better and safer working environment for their employees.