The official summer weather outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center says the chances of above normal temperatures are “slightly enhanced” for much of the Pacific Northwest, but “moderated by recent positive snow and soil moisture anomalies.” On the other hand, meteorologists at the Oregon Department of Agriculture are predicting below average temperatures and an unlikely threat of major heat waves or prolonged periods of hot weather.
Regardless of how this summer’s weather plays out, be prepared for summer’s common outdoor hazards. Here are five tips to help keep summertime safer.
Be cool under heat
Typically, July and August are the months when outdoor workers are most at risk for heat illness. But heat illness can be a serious threat any time workers are not prepared for hot weather, and the risk increases when the weather is hot and humid. Labor-intensive construction activities such as roofing and paving can easily raise the body temperature of workers who are unprepared for hot weather.
Heat illness is a serious health threat and a safety risk. Take it easy on your first days of work in the heat. Make sure your worksite has potable water and a clean way to dispense it.
Start drinking fluids before you get thirsty. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing and eat light meals before you do strenuous work. If you take medications for a health condition, check with your health-care provider to make sure that you are able to work in higher temperatures.
Take frequent rest breaks when you work in the heat. Rest in the shade – at least five minutes – when you need to cool down. Prolonged work makes it harder to concentrate on what you are doing, which can increase the risk of an accident.
Recommended: The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool – Link below…
Don’t blister in the sun
You probably know sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation that causes premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, cataracts, and skin cancer. What are you doing to protect yourself? Four reminders:
- Wear sunglasses that have 99 percent to 100 percent UV protection; inexpensive sunglasses that provide 99 percent to 100 percent UVA and UVB protection are as effective as expensive ones.
- Use a full spectrum (UVA and UVB protection) sunscreen. If you are fair-skinned, use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 20. Apply it generously.
- Check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Shelf life is one to three years depending where it is stored. Avoid storing sunscreen where extreme temperatures will shorten its shelf life.
- Cover up. The best protection is a wide-brimmed hat and loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that you can’t see through.
- Limit your exposure. UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.