July 2012
In This Issue:

Changes to Come for "The Quill"

Beat the Heat

Steer Clear of Lane Change Collisions

Registration Open for Claims & Safety Seminar

Resource Library >>

Beat the Heat

It’s summer. People expect it to be hot. But this year has been particularly unbearable as cities across the country are experiencing record-setting high temperatures. Heat exhaustion, dehydration and heatstroke are real dangers for all people, but especially for workers who are driving in the heat or spending time in hot environments such as docks, warehouses and maintenance shops. Help your workers stay cool by educating them on the warning signs of heat-related illness and tips for beating the heat.


Of the various heat-related illnesses, heatstroke is the most serious and life-threatening because people can heat up too much to the point where they can become delirious or lose consciousness. The body will literally cook if it does not rid itself of the excess heat fast enough. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), symptoms of heatstroke include the body being extremely hot when touched; altered mental state, ranging from slight confusion to disorientation to a coma; irrational or aggressive behavior; and seizures.

Drivers who think they are experiencing heatstroke should pull off in a safe, legal parking location and call 911 immediately. Workers in a warehouse or dock should be moved to a cool place after 911 is called. Remove their outer clothing and, ideally, immerse them up to the neck in cold water. If that’s not possible, they should be wrapped in a wet sheet, sprayed with water or covered with ice packs. Anything that can help bring down their body temperature should be used.

Heat exhaustion, caused by extreme dehydration, is less severe than heatstroke. Symptoms include sweating, pale and moist skin, thirst, fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fast or shallow breathing. Affected workers might feel like they are coming down with the flu. Untreated, heat exhaustion can worsen into a heatstroke. Treatment for heat exhaustion is similar to heatstroke: move affected individuals into a cool place, remove their outer clothing, place wet cloths on their forehead and body, and give them water or a sports drink.

One of the most obvious tips to preventing heat-related illnesses is to stay hydrated. However, what your workers may not realize is the importance of drinking plenty of fluids before their shift, not just during it. Drinking water before work will help delay the effects of dehydration. During their shift, workers should not wait to drink until they are actually thirsty. By that point, they are likely already dehydrated and are at risk for a heat-related illness.

Here are some additional tips to share with your workers to help beat the heat:

  • Use air conditioning to help control temperatures.
  • Use sufficient fans to keep air circulating. 
  • If possible, schedule the most strenuous tasks for early morning or night.
  • Eat well-balanced, low-sodium meals and avoid caffeinated beverages.
  • Replenish body fluids by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Dress appropriately by wearing a hat and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Encourage workers to get plenty of rest before their shift. Fatigue can stress the body and make you more susceptible to heat exhaustion.
  • Take frequent breaks, preferably in a cool or shaded place.

The following websites have additional resources for helping your workers avoid heat-related illnesses: National Safety Council, American Red Cross and Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

A free video is available for loan to Baldwin & Lyons insureds that can be used to train employees on the danger of heat stress. To borrow the video, contact the Loss Prevention Resource Library at (317) 636-9800 or email your request to thequill@baldwinandlyons.com.


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Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
1099 North Meridian Street, Suite 700 | Indianapolis, IN 46204
(800) 644-5501 | Fax: (317) 632-9444