July 2009

In the heat

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Transmission Operations & Maintenance electrician Terry Housley takes a water break while working in the July heat. He and his co-workers are replacing bushings in an oil circuit breaker at Douglas Dam.

Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the major signs of heat illness. Taking a few precautions can help you get through the hot, humid summer temperatures.

1. Pace yourself — If you are not used to working in the heat, start slowly and increase the pace gradually. If exertion makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or at least in the shade and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak or faint.

2. Drink plenty of fluids — During heavy work, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour. A sports beverage, such as Squincher, can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Liquids that contain caffeine or large amounts of sugar can cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.

3. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing — Protect yourself by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and by using sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.

4. Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours — Take rest breaks often in shady areas so your body will have a chance to recover.

5. Use a buddy system — Heat-induced illness can cause people to become confused or lose consciousness. When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you.