No matter what your workplace looks like, the summer heat in Arizona presents an increased need for staying hydrated. There’s no shortage of articles and reports about the importance of staying hydrated. Especially in the summer.
Providing safe drinking water for employees is not just a nice thing for employers to do. It’s a requirement.
Here’s what you need to know about you employer’s obligation to provide water and opportunities to rehydrate.
An essential step to preventing heat related illness
A recent post looked at recognizing symptoms of heat related illness. Staying hydrated is a simple way to make sure that a hot day at work doesn’t turn into a trip to the hospital because of a heat related illness such as heat stroke.
Your body sweats to stay cool, but that also means that when you’re sweating, you’re losing the water your body needs to produce more sweat to stay cool. This is why it is so critical, especially in the summer, to stay hydrated.
It may seem like a cycle where you’ll never get ahead, but drinking water all day, especially while you’re working is critical to preventing heat related illness.
Time to drink
While employers have some discretion in how often to offer breaks and where water is located, OSHA has provided some best practice guidance to help make the workplace safe.
OSHA suggests that employees working in extreme heat (heat index between 103˚F and 115˚F) should drink about four cups of water every hour. More if they are working in direct sunlight.
Acclimating to the heat
Different people will have different hydration needs and will have different levels of tolerance for the heat. Thirst is one of the first signs that your body is getting dehydrated. Pay attention to how you’re feeling throughout the day and try to break for water before you begin to feel thirsty.
If this is your first summer working in the heat, try to take time to get used to working outside in the heat a little at a time. If you can, alternate between jobs that are outside and ones that are inside. If that isn’t an option, try to find opportunities to work in the shade.
Remember, you aren’t the only one working out in the sun. Pay attention to the people around you and remind them to take a water break too. Your coworkers are there to help you all stay safe on the worksite, and it’s hard to do that if you’re dehydrated.