As we enter the summer months, the temperatures are starting to heat up. With the average temperature of an unventilated attic in the summer being 150 degrees, we weren’t kidding when we say it’s heating up. We all know that insulation contractors are always out there making it happen and are no strangers to working in extreme conditions. With that said, the heat is no joke, and neither are the negative effects that come with it.
Though that might not sound surprising, this may: the National Weather Service says heat-related deaths are the highest weather-related deaths over the past 30 years. That’s why in April of 2022, OSHA issued a new national emphasis program (NEP) on indoor and outdoor heat-related hazards that expands on the agency’s ongoing heat-related illness prevention campaign. This means that OSHA will be providing more heat-illness education as well as initiating more frequent and more strict inspections of at-risk jobsites.
We wanted to take this time to not only spread awareness about the seriousness of working in hot temperatures, but also educate our readers on the signs and treatments to serious cases of heat illness. To start this off it’s important to understand the different stages of heat-illness. According to John Hopkins Medicine, there are three different types of heat illness: Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke.
The first signs of heat illness are cramps and spasms (especially in the legs), in addition to sweating. This is the mildest form of heat illnesses, so no need to head to the hospital yet. Simply take a rest in a cool environment, preferably a place fanning cool air and removing excess clothing (such as a spray suit or hood). Make sure you drink chilled sports drinks containing salt and sugar as well as stretch the cramping muscles to help you quickly recover and get back in service to finish up the job.
Once you start excessively sweating and feeling faintness, dizziness, or fatigue you are entering into heat exhaustion. If you are feeling nauseous, have low blood pressure when standing, and have a headache in addition to the above, you are already experiencing it. Treatment is essentially the same as heat cramps, but you need to prioritize hydrating yourself so your body can cool itself. If you take these treatment steps and don’t notice any improvements, your body is unable to cool itself and it’s time to go to an emergency clinic.
If you don’t take the proper precautions once experiencing heat exhaustion, your skin will feel warm, you may lose your appetite and be confused along with other conditions associated with a stroke. At this point, your body is unable to properly cool itself and your body temperature is rising rapidly. This should be taken very seriously, just like a normal stroke, as this is life threatening. If you or someone on your crew has heat stroke, immediately call 911, get in a cool place, and put ice bags on the armpits and groin areas. If the person is alert and able, have them drink cool fluids.
We hope you don’t experience any serious heat illness this summer, but make sure you keep your crew aware of the realities of working in the summer and follow precautionary steps throughout the workday. Proper hydration, frequent rests and other steps are always needed to prevent heat illness, but there are additional products such as cooling vests or cool supplied air that can aid in overheating. If you or your crew are interested in these products, reach out to us today, and above all, make sure you have a safe and profitable summer.