Safety: Staying Hydrated On The Worksite
7 January 2019
We’ve all experienced it at some point when working or playing hard – fatigue sets in, your mouth feels dry, your legs are heavy and you might even get a headache. These are all common signs of dehydration.
When you are working hard, body fluid is lost through sweat. If the fluid lost through sweat is not replaced, dehydration and early fatigue are unavoidable. During the summer heat, it is easy to become dehydrated if you do not drink enough fluids to replace what is lost in sweat.
However, dehydration can easily be prevented by following these tips:
When to drink: Ensure you drink before you start working. Trying to catch-up for lost fluids after a period of time is very difficult. Also, drink before you get thirsty. By the time you’re thirsty you are already dehydrated, so it’s important to drink at regular intervals, around 250ml every 15-20 minutes when working and sweating in the heat. A good rule of thumb from a wise man says: “If you aren’t using the bathroom, you’re not drinking enough”.
What to drink: Water is one of the best things to drink. If you are continuously sweating, electrolyte sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade can help with hydration.
What not to drink: Coke, coffee and energy drinks (V, Red Bull, Mother, etc) cause increased urine output, and can make working in the heat more dangerous by causing you to dehydrate more quickly. Alcohol should definitely be avoided when working in the heat.
When you are sweating for long hours in the sun, also ensure that you are wearing sunscreen, a shirt and a hat to prevent sunburn. Make sure that the sunscreen is water resistant, long lasting and covers you with the highest levels of UV protection, for best results.