It’s hot outside and in some regions, the worst is still yet to come. To stay safe, septic workers and any other crews operating vacuum trucks in the heat must take precautions to protect themselves. Companies who send workers out to perform rigorous jobs using any type of heavy trucks, including vacuum trucks, must educate workers about the dangers of heat stroke and how to prevent it.
Heat Stroke - A Real Danger for Labor Crews
Heat stroke sickens and kills a number of people every year. It can silently strike those performing strenuous activities in the heat, or those who are ill-prepared for the heat. Add to this the fact that summertime can be the busiest work season for those who operate vacuum trucks and are trying to keep up with the demand for services while working in the extreme heat - it can be a disaster waiting to happen. To keep employees safe while keeping production up, these vacuum truck companies must make heat safety a part of overall safety protocols.
What Is Heat Stroke and What Are the Signs?
Heat stroke is caused by the body’s inability to regulate its temperature in high heat conditions. People suffering from heat stroke can quickly become ill to the point of losing consciousness, which can lead to death from damage caused to the body and internal organs. Symptoms of heat stroke may include the following:
- Mental fogginess
- Nausea and vomiting
- High temperature and red skin
- Inability to sweat or excessive sweating
- Rapid breathing
- Racing heart
Recognize the Conditions for Heat Stroke
Certain conditions, like the combinaiton of increased heat and humidity, make heat stroke more likely. As the heat index rises, so does the risk of heat stroke or other heat-related injury. For employees working in heavy protective clothing and safety gear, such as those who work with vacuum trucks, the heat index is even higher than outside temperatures alone. All of this must be considered when employees are out in the work field and at risk for heat stroke. People unaccustomed to working in the heat, who are overweight or particularly unfit, or who may have other physical conditions are more susceptible to heat stroke.
Preventing Heat Stroke While Working Outside
Septic services, and any other companies requiring operators to work outside in the heat, must train employees on the dangers of heat stroke and how to prevent it. Staying hydrated is essential, as is taking frequent rest breaks in the shade to give the body a chance to stay temperature regulated. Work crews should always have water on hand and drink as much as necessary to stay hydrated and cool. The higher the temperature and heat index, the more water as well as frequent rest and shade breaks should be taken by workers.
Yet when temperatures begin to climb above 100 degrees, more precautions should be taken. Workers should drink at least 4 cups of water for every hour of work and increase rest and shade breaks. Crew members should check each other’s condition and mental clarity to determine if heat stroke is developing. Companies should also have an emergency plan for heat related injuries, since getting help quickly is essential. If temperatures rise above 115 degrees, work should be rescheduled to protect employees from the possibility of deadly heat stroke.
Many people do not realize just how dangerous working in high temperatures can be. Companies who offer vacuum truck services and any similar services requiring employees to work in the heat must train all workers about the dangers of heat stroke. They should know the signs and symptoms as well as what to do should a worker begin showing signs. Most importantly, services operating vacuum trucks can avoid dangerous accidents by educating employees on how to protect themselves in the heat to prevent heat stroke!