By Amy Myers, MA, LAT, ATC, CEIS Citizens Energy Group
How many times have you been watching television and see a commercial for a sports drink? Inevitably, the advertising stresses that without their product, the athlete will not be able to perform at their peak performance level. There is nothing different between those athletes and the employees we support. These “Industrial Athletes” need to make sure that they stay properly fueled for peak performance too. Educating our workers about the dangers of heat related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke is essential to their success.
Here are some important things to know:
- Water is not enough: Electrolytes are the “electrical fuel” of your body. Without proper electrolyte levels, the body is not able to operate at its peak energy potential. The symptoms of heat stress appear very similar to intoxication.
- Just 2% dehydration can lead to 20% reduction in mental, motor and production efficiency.
- Once a person is effected by a heat related condition, they become more susceptible to succumb to another heat related condition in the future.
Keys to Heat Awareness Education
- Preparation – Prepare for the day by being properly hydrated before work begins and know the early symptoms of heat related illnesses.
- Prevention – Schedule frequent breaks, emphasize the need for appropriate clothing and use the buddy system for heat awareness accountability.
- Recovery – Rest at the end of every shift, maintain proper nutrition and make sure to replace electrolyte levels fully to prepare for the next day’s demands.Prepare for the day, Prevent while at work and Recover at the end of the shift. The “Industrial Athletes” at our sites are the MVPs of their families. Our job is to keep them in the game. Heat related illnesses are 100% preventable. As the temperature rises this summer, stress the importance of heat related illness awareness to make sure that everyone goes home to their families both healthy and safe at the end of the day.