Don’t Stress in the Summer Heat
July 1, 2021
Working in all sorts of weather is part of the job description for many FirstEnergy employees. However, heat stress can be a concern during the summer months – especially now that summer is in full swing and temperatures have topped 90 degrees in parts of our service territory.
“Heat-related illnesses are a major concern this time of year,” said Laura Redenshek, director, FEU Safety and Human Performance. “Ensuring employees know the signs of heat stress, heat stroke and the importance of proper hydration is critically important.”
Heat stress occurs when the body starts to lose the ability to cool itself down. As a result, it’s imperative for employees in hot environments to monitor their physical condition – and that of their coworkers – for signs of the illness, such as tiredness and lethargy, headache, dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps and feeling faint. Once symptoms start, heat stress can escalate quickly into a more serious illness.
“During the warm weather months, it’s essential to control exposures by taking adequate breaks, scheduling work appropriately, and remaining focused avoiding distractions,” said Laura.
Preventing heat-related illnesses involves self-awareness, assessment of work conditions, and the implementation of control and prevention measures to avoid heat-related injuries.
“In our safety discussions we stress the importance of being aware of working conditions and watching out for the signs of heat-related illness,” said Brandon Papa, director, Operation Services, Penelec. “When high heat stress conditions are present, we work to adjust work practices and assignments for cooler times of the day as much as possible.”
Proper hydration, diet and sleep habits are key components to preventing heat stress. Arrive to work hydrated, and drink fluids throughout the day. Above all, know when conditions create the potential for heat stress, and take precautions.