Jul 28 2022
Be Heat Smart
Outdoor heat exposure rules at 89° F or greater
The new rules by L&I require employers to ensure:
- Enough cool water is available so that each worker drinks at least a quart (about one liter) every hour.
- Enough shade is available to fully cover workers during a break; or employers can use alternatives to shade like an air-conditioned trailer.
- Workers are encouraged and allowed to take paid cool-down breaks when they start to feel overheaded and paid mandatory 10-minute breaks every two hours to cool down.
- Observation of workers and communication methods in place to detect and respond to signs or symptoms of heat illness.
Hydrate Before Work
- Being hydrated when you start work makes it easier to maintain hydration throughout the day.
- If you start your work day dehydrated your body may not be able to catch up to your body's proper hydration level.
Hydrate During Work
- Drink before feeling thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already behind in fluid replacement.
- Dehyration is a primary contributor to heat exhaustion.
- When working in heat, drink 1 cup (8 ounces) of water every 15-20 minutes.
- This translates to 3/4 - 1 quart (24-32 ounces) per hours.
- Drinking at shorter intervals is more effective than drinking large amounts infrequently.
- Be careful drinking more 48 ounces per hour becasue this amount of water repeatedly can dangerously lower the salt concentration in your blood.
Hydrate After Work
- Most people need several hours to drink enough fluids to replace what they have lost through sweat.
- Hydrating after work is even more important if you work in the heat on a regular basis. Chronic dehydration increases the risk for a number of medical conditions, such as kidney stones.
What to Drink
- Water will almost always maintian hydration during work in the heat, as long as you eat regular meals to replace salt lost in sweat.
- Limit caffinated drinks that have more than the average amount of caffine in tea, coffee, and soft drinks, as it can put extra strain placed on your body by heat.
- Avoid alcohol consumption as it can cause dehydration. Drinking alcohol within 24 hours of working in the heat can increase the risk of heat illness.