Summer presents various hazards that pose a threat to employees, not just to those working outside, but also to office workers. While Lyme disease and sunstroke may be the most obvious threats, there are many other hidden pitfalls that you and your team may encounter during the season.
As a manager or business owner, it's your responsibility to keep your employees safe. To do so, you need to be aware of potential risks. This knowledge will help you prepare for appropriate treatments and, more importantly, implement preventive measures. Keep reading for more details.
Heat-Related Illnesses Are The Most Common Work-Related Hazard In The Summer
Let’s start with the heat. One of the most significant hazards during summer is heat-related illnesses like sunstroke and heat exhaustion. While sunny days can be enjoyable, the heat overwhelms some people both indoor and outdoor, working remote and on-site.
Ensure that everyone takes regular breaks in shaded outdoor or cool indoor spaces and stays hydrated throughout the day. Investing in an air conditioner for the office in case of extreme heat is a wise decision that will pay off. Additionally, accessible water stations throughout the workplace are a must-have.
People working outdoor have to pay special attention to skin protection. Provide them with sunscreen. Be ahead of the curve. Suggest the use of hats, sunglasses, and lightweight, long-sleeved clothing to shield the skin from harmful UV rays.
Offering flexible working hours can also be beneficial, allowing employees to avoid the hottest part of the day or not be regularly in the office when it's at its hottest. Educate employees about the signs of heat-related illnesses, such as excessive sweating, dizziness, and confusion and encourage them to seek immediate medical attention if they or their colleagues experience any of these symptoms.
Lastly, it's a good idea to have signs and instructions around the building or workplace during the summer months to remind everyone to take care of themselves during the hot weather.
Why Should Insect Bites and Lyme Disease Concern You as an HR Manager?
You might have projects that have to be performed in the woody areas or plan some outdoor team building like a hike or a barbeque. As the team leader, you want to ensure that your employees have a fun and safe time during these activities. Lyme disease should be on your radar. This disease is transmitted through tick bites, and it can be a significant concern while staying outdoor.
Do you remember a time when you went on a hike and came back with several ticks on your clothing, in your hair or on your person?? It was not a pleasant experience, and you don't want your team to go through the same thing. So, be prepared and inform your employees that ticks are common in wooded areas and tall grass. Remind them of the importance of tick checks, wearing long-sleeved shirts, long, light fabric pants, and use insect repellent containing DEET to reduce the risk of tick bites.
Make sure your team knows the early symptoms of Lyme disease, such as fever, fatigue, headache, and a characteristic "bull's-eye" rash. By knowing the symptoms, early detection can lead to timely treatment and better outcomes. Prevention is key, and it's always better to be safe than sorry.
But wait, there is more.
Don't forget about other pesky insects, such as mosquitoes and bees, which are especially active during the summer months. This increases the likelihood of insect bites and allergic reactions.
If your employees work outside, especially during early morning or late evening when mosquitoes are most active, ensure that they use insect repellent. It's also a good idea to use screens and nets to keep insects from sneaking into your office.
While mosquito bites may be irritating, bee stings or wasp bites can be much more dangerous, particularly for those who are allergic. If you or a colleague has a known bee or wasp allergy, ensure that you always carry an EpiPen. Additionally, it's a good idea to train designated colleagues on how to administer emergency first aid should an allergic reaction occur.
Canadian Summer Special: Poor Air Quality From Wildfires
As wildfires continue to rage across parts of the country, the air quality in many areas has become a growing concern. Smoke and pollution from the fires can have a serious impact on our health, particularly for those with respiratory issues. To help protect yourself and your colleagues, it's important to stay informed about air quality levels in your area. You can check local air quality reports or download a mobile app like IQAir AirVisual or BreezoMeter that provides real-time updates.
If the air quality is poor, it's best to avoid spending extended periods of time outdoors. Instead, you can opt to stay inside and keep windows and doors closed. You may also want to utilize air purifiers or filters to improve indoor air quality. This can help to reduce your exposure to smoke and pollution.
If you or a colleague has pre-existing respiratory issues, it's important to take extra precautions. Carry necessary medications, such as inhalers, and consider wearing a mask or respirator when outside. These steps can help to protect your health and prevent symptoms from worsening.
Summertime is here, and it's the perfect opportunity to put your employees' well-being first. By taking proactive measures and staying ahead of the game, you can prevent any issues from happening and create a safe working environment that everyone can thrive in. Keep your team informed and protected, and watch as they become a more productive force, ready to tackle that come their way.
Don't forget to share this information with your employees!