Working in The Heat: Signs and Symptoms


Everyone looks forward to the summer after the frigid conditions we experience in Canada. The beautiful weather and the leisure time brings the best out of people, however, the summer months can also bring on heat-related illnesses. These include anything from dehydration, nausea and fatigue to the rare, but more serious, heat stroke. It is common for temperatures to rise in certain workplaces, particularly outdoor professions or where there is heat-generating equipment. This makes it difficult to complete tasks comfortably or adequately. For that reason, it is vital to be aware of the various heat-related signs and symptoms to help you stay protected!

Here is what you should look for:

Heat Cramps:

Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps. Muscles may spasm or jerk involuntarily typically in your calves, thighs, and shoulders. Heat cramps can occur during exercise or work in a hot environment.

Symptoms of Heat Cramps- Muscle spasms that are:

  • Painful
  • Involuntary
  • Brief
  • Intermittent
  • Usually self-limited (go away on their own)

Treatment for Heat Cramps:

  • Rest in a cool place
  • Drink cold water or a sports drink that contains electrolytes and salt

Heat Exhaustion:

Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures and it often is accompanied by dehydration. There are two kinds of heat exhaustion that you need to be aware of including water depletion and salt depletion. Signs of water depletion include excessive thirst, weakness, headache, and loss of consciousness. Signs of salt depletion include nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, and dizziness.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:

  • Confusion
  • Dark-coloured urine (a sign of dehydration)
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Pale skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

Treatment for Heat Exhaustion:

  • Get out of the heat and avoid it
  • Drink plenty of water or fluids that contain electrolytes and salt
  • Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath
  • Apply other cooling measures such as fans or ice towels

Heat Stroke:

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat injury that often occurs as a progression from milder heat-related illnesses, however, it can strike even if you have no previous signs of heat injury. Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures – usually in combination with dehydration – which leads to failure of the body’s temperature control system. The medical definition of heat stroke is a core body temperature greater than 104 degrees fahrenheit, with complications involving the central nervous system.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke:

  • Disorientation
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Behavioural changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Treatments for Heat Stroke:

  • Fan air over the patient while wetting his or her skin with water from a sponge or garden hose
  • Apply ice packs to the patient’s armpits, groin, neck, and back (These areas are rich with blood vessels that are close to the skin and cooling them may reduce body temperature)
  • Immerse the patient in cool water or ice bath to help cool the body

Protect Yourself:

If you, or anyone else, have any symptoms of heat-related illnesses, it’s essential to immediately get out of the heat, stay hydrated and rest in a cool or shady place. To prevent these injuries from occurring make sure to use a “buddy” system to watch for signs and symptoms of co-workers. If affected, try to avoid hot weather and heavy exercise until your doctor tells you that it’s safe to resume your normal activities!

Ergonomic Benefits of Wireless Headsets


From office chairs to telephone headsets, ergonomics is prevalent. Nevertheless, you might be wondering how wireless headsets can bring users a variety of benefits that improve workplace wellness. So what are the main perks of using a wireless headset?

BETTER MOVEMENT

Using a wireless headset as part of your daily work routine will help improve your posture by freeing you to move and sit more naturally. It eliminates the need to hold the telephone in an uncomfortable position and provides the freedom to roam which results in 35% less muscle tension than handset users.

REDUCES STRAIN

Neck and upper back muscle tension are one of the most common ailments of office workers. Results from a commissioned study conducted at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, CA, provide strong evidence that office workers can reduce neck, shoulder and upper back muscle tension as much as 41% by using a headset. That is a significant improvement for just wearing a headset! 

 

INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY

An additional study by H.B. Maynard & Co., Inc. concluded that adding hands-free headsets to office telephones improved productivity and efficiency by up to 43 percent. By making your workstation more comfortable and freeing up your hands for other tasks, you’ll find that you can get more work done each day.

A wireless headset will also enable you to remain productive from home or out of the office.

SOUND QUALITY

With the proper microphone placement (1-2 finger widths from the corner of your mouth) wireless headsets have reinvented sound and speech perception. A lot of headsets now have noise-cancelling options that detect and analyze the pattern of incoming sound which generates an “anti-noise” mirror signal to cancel it out for clear conversations. As a result, headsets give users a better sound experience that is personalized to their individual needs and reciprocated on the other end. 

REDUCES WORKPLACE INJURIES

It’s impressive to see the difference a headset can make for the end users. A Swedish field study analyzed a hundred people and showed that for 26% of respondents, neck and back pains “totally disappeared” and for 52% of respondents, inconvenience “diminished significantly” after they started using a headset. It is clear that headsets reduce the chances of work-related physical disorders which also results in reduced workers’ compensation cost! 

 

This new evidence confirms that headsets are a cost-effective, preventative solution for the whole company! 

 

Fire Safety in the Workplace


You probably remember practicing fire drills in school but as you move into the workplace other measures can be taken to avoid accidents. For instance, there are standards put in place by Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) that outline the basics of fire safety including the causes of workplace fires, prevention practices and guidelines for evacuation.

However, according to Statistics Canada there were 247 business use/personal service fires in 2014 that cost companies millions of dollars in damages! It’s clear that there are preventative practices in place but there is no hiding the fact that unforeseen fires in the workplace can be extremely dangerous. Therefore, we have outlined four ways you can keep your workplace safe:

Accessibility

It is important to keep workplaces neat and tidy to ensure that there is full accessibility to sprinklers, firefighting equipment and emergency exits. Moreover, equipment and other materials should be properly stored and ready for use in the case of an emergency.

Precautions

It is vital to follow all recommended and required precautions to prepare for ignition in potentially explosive atmospheres. These precautions include evacuation plans, semi-annual fire safety training and proper signage. Implementing safer practices such as the use of non-sparking tools and proper static electricity control will help prevent workplace incidents!

Safe Handling

Safe handling practices are fundamental when it comes to workplace fire safety. Always read the label and the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to assess flammability and other fire hazards of substances.

It is also imperative that employees have the proper protective equipment for handling hazardous materials, access to proper waste disposal and report hazards that occur. 

Don’t forget to follow the operating procedures and established safety protocols that are in place!

Maintenance

All in all these three steps will get your establishment in the right direction for fire prevention safety, but in the long run it is essential to maintain these procedures. Check and perform maintenance on machines/tasks regularly and keep a record of this routine maintenance. In essence, following these four steps will ensure effective results in fire safety!