Job site safety isn’t all about power cords and ladders.  The heat can take its toll.

Now is the time to prepare for Spring and Summer weather.  Believe it or not, something as simple as sharing a drink—of water, that is—may mean the difference between productivity and injury.  Dehydration taxes mental and physical health.

Some of the mental symptoms include:  light-headedness, dizziness, confusion, or change in mental status.  This can be especially dangerous in an outdoor work environment where handling equipment properly, and using good judgment are imperative to safety.

Physical symptoms of dehydration can include:  extreme thirst, dry skin and mouth, increased heart rate and breathing, lethargy or fatigue, little or no urination.

Keep your employees safe by encouraging them to drink water before, during, and after working outside.  In fact, when exposed to heat, workers should drink, or at least sip, water or sports drinks every 15 to 20 minutes.  They should consume a total of at least eight glasses of water each day.

There are some contributing factors to dehydration which can be easily avoided or monitored.  Make your employees aware that consuming alcohol and/or sodas (even the night before), some medications, stress, and lack of fruits and vegetables in your diet, can significantly increase the risk of dehydration.

“Every year about this time,” says Ludy Martinez, Claims Manager for UniqueHR, “we see an increase in Workers’ Compensation cases related to dehydration.  Many could be avoided by workers simply drinking water when working outside.”   As temperatures rise, make sure your employees are well hydrated to keep them, and the job site safe.