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Some Basics About Trailer Repair…The Heat Is On

June 22, 2016

 

BLAZING SUNSHINE

One year ago today I published the following blog post because summer had officially started the previous day and it offered some valuable tips for working in the heat.  Well one of the nice things about summer is that it comes again every year along with the heat, humidity and blazing sunshine.  I think this advice bears repeating so I’ve decided to re-post it with a few additional comments. 

Yesterday was the first day full day of summer and the heat is on again.  Several areas across the country are forecast to be in the upper 80’s and the 90’s, with a few unfortunate areas to go well over 100 degrees.

We’re a trailer repair company and for us work doesn’t slow down during the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.  And our clients need their trailers in good working condition.  For my mechanics that may mean climbing up to repair a roof or pulling off wheels to check the brakes or even laying under the trailer to make repairs.  It’s hard physical work and can get dangerous in the extreme heat.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), working in the heat, humidity and in the sun can lead to heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rashes.  Additionally, the heat can cause secondary safety problems such as sweaty palms, fogging up of safety glasses and dizziness or lightheadedness.

Additional symptoms of these heat related illnesses include weakness, nausea, blurry vision, confusion or loss of consciousness.

One thing I do, when possible, is schedule the work day around the heat.  If I start my mechanics at 6 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. they can work nearly a full day before the hottest time of the day.  This obviously won’t work for all companies but it’s helpful when possible.

What else can be done to keep your employees as cool and safe as possible?  Here are a few more tips:

  1.  Light colored, loose fitting, lightweight clothing should be worn when possible.  Obviously this won’t work if loose clothing can cause a different safety hazard such as with machine operators, so use good judgement when allowing this.  Cotton is a great choice but avoid synthetic clothing that doesn’t “breathe”.  If possible, shield your face and head with a hat when working in direct sunlight.
  2. Employees should drink frequently to stay well hydrated.  While water is probably best, it is smart to avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, and high amounts of sugar.  Some people prefer sports drinks, such as Gatorade or Powerade, that will help replenish the body’s supply of electrolytes.  Several years ago I was the Human Resources Manager at a manufacturing company.  During the hot and humid days of summer I kept a barrel of fresh fruit on ice for the line employees to eat as they needed to stay cool and help stay hydrated.   Just be aware of any safety hazards or other restrictions of having food in a manufacturing area that would prohibit this choice.
  3. Allow employees to take extra breaks and to take breaks in the coolest possible environment, such as in a shaded or air conditioned area.
  4. When possible, schedule heaviest work for the coolest part of the day.
  5. Encourage or appoint employees to check on co-workers, especially those who are older — use a buddy system.
  6. If you suspect an employee has a heat related illness get immediate medical attention for him/her.

It will be a long hot summer… be careful and stay cool…

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