Extended exposure to heat causes our body to lose a significant amount of water and electrolytes. It’s a huge concern for people who are part of the construction industry where the employees are often faced with rising temperatures and often, poor ventilation. To protect these workers, companies are required to adhere to OSHA’s health and safety guidelines.
To ensure that workers are well-informed and trained regarding this matter, they are encouraged to acquire OSHA outreach training. As they say, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and this is especially true for those employees whose job performance is largely dependent on their health.
One very important factor often overlooked concerning this subject is the role of humidity in shaping working conditions. To learn more about that, check out these pointers that will raise your awareness on how humidity can affect our body temperature and our health:
Humidity affects how we feel
Most of us might recall humidity as the weather man’s favorite thing to blame for those muggy and steamy days we get every summer. Workers are very sensitive to humidity. The higher the relative humidity, the less efficient sweating will become. As humidity rises, sweat just won’t evaporate. Since sweating is the primary way our bodies cool off, the heat in our body sticks around for much longer in humid conditions. For workers who are exposed to the sun or assigned in an enclosed working area, this spells immediate trouble.
What happens when our body gets overexposed to heat?
Our body is working tirelessly to maintain a constant temperature around 98.6 F; anything higher can make us prone to illnesses such as:
- Heat cramps – among the most common illness caused by the sudden rise in temperature, heat cramps usually hit the muscles being used during work. The spasms happen when the body fails to replenish lost body salts.
- Heat rash – a red or pink rash that usually pops up on body areas that are covered in clothing. The rashes develop when the sweat ducts become blocked and swollen. Aside from being itchy, the rashes can also be painful under extreme exposure.
- Heat exhaustion – occurs when the person has been thoroughly working under high temperatures for too long. They can become nauseous, experience headaches, and will eventually lead to dehydration.
- Heat stroke – one of the most well-known and serious condition caused by extreme heat. During an attack, the body temperature can soar to dangerous levels above 100 F, which may trigger complete or partial loss of consciousness. Heat stroke victim requires immediate medical attention and is considered a medical emergency.
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to the sudden rise of temperature in the workplace, but for the construction industry, a shift in humidity is among the usual suspects that put workers at risk. It’s very important for employees to undergo OSHA Outreach training so that they’ll be equipped with sufficient knowledge about the effects of humidity and other hazards in the environment.