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Beat the Heat This Summer

Keeping Volunteers Safe from Heat-Related Illnesses

Summertime comes with many positive aspects, such as outdoor activities, barbecues and summer camps. Unfortunately, these fun summertime activities are accompanied by long hours in the sun and especially the extreme heat.

When working outdoors, it is important for volunteers to take steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Consider following these tips from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to beat the heat this summer:

  • Train employees and volunteers to learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses.
  • Avoid working and playing outdoors in the warmest part of the day and schedule outdoor work for the cooler parts of the day.
  • Provide cool water to your volunteers and encourage them to drink often. Avoid drinking caffeinated or sugary beverages.
  • Encourage your volunteers to work in pairs.
  • Wear lightweight, loose fitting and light colored clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Additionally, wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your head and face.

Two of the most common types of heat-related illnesses are heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Symptoms of each of these include, but are not limited to, dizziness, nausea, shallow breathing, and a weak pulse. Move the individuals indoors and apply a cool, wet sheet or cloth to reduce body temperature. If the individual’s condition is serious or does not improve, call 9-1-1 or take the individual to a hospital immediately.

For more tips on handling extreme heat, visit the OSHA website.

© 2021 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved.This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.