Things are heating up in California and since I have suffered from heat exhaustion in the past I just wanted to give you a few helpful steps to avoid it in the first place and generally what you should do if you or one of your workers experiences a heat related injury.
Step #1 Harness the power of the shade.
Just working in shade alone will not prevent heat related injuries but it sure does help. When you experience direct sun for extended periods of time it not only dehydrates you and raises your body temperature, it also can have major effects on your alertness and ability to react to many common dangers that are common in work zones.
Step #2 Cool your body temperature
Heat stroke or other heat related injuries are caused by your core body temperature getting too hot. One way to prevent heat injuries is to simply cool your body off with a cool towel wrap. When you place it around your neck it cools your carotid artery which pumps a tremendous amount of much needed blood to the brain and in turn cools your core body temperature. Speaking from personal experience these cooling towels greatly increased by awareness and all around comfort.
Step #3 Hydrate
This is obviously the most crucial step. The one thing that is best at regulating your body's temperature is your body so ensure that it has the fluids and electrolytes it needs to function properly. Now there is some controversy around salt tablets but from my personal experience in the military whenever we knew there was going to be a long day in the sun we would grab a salt tablet and drink plenty of water and everyone on my team felt alert and hydrated throughout the day. another way to keep your hydration up is to mix sports drinks with water i normally keep it 25% sports drink and 75% water. If you just drink straight sports drink then it can actually have the opposite effect and cause you to dehydrate faster because of the sugar levels your body is trying to process.
What to do if someone is experiencing a heat related injury
Get them in a cool shaded environment and possibly throw some wet towels over them. But make sure they are not too cold since it can send their body into shock. After they have been moved into a cool environment provide them with some water and some form of electrolyte that they can slowly work on. In many cases you may want to transport them to the Emergency Room. For a complete list of what to do and what the signs are please visit OSHA's website.