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How berry pickers, construction workers can beat the heat this week

A Rader Farms raspberry harvester emerges from a row of berries in a field on Birch Bay- Lynden Road on June 26, 2015. This week’s record-setting hot weather poses a risk to people who spend their days working outdoors.
A Rader Farms raspberry harvester emerges from a row of berries in a field on Birch Bay- Lynden Road on June 26, 2015. This week’s record-setting hot weather poses a risk to people who spend their days working outdoors. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

With construction season in full swing, this week’s record-setting hot weather poses a risk to people who spend their days working outdoors.

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries is urging employers and work crews to take precautions, because workers may experience cramps, exhaustion and nausea – and those symptoms can rapidly escalate to heat stroke, which can be fatal.

Roofers, highway crews and agricultural workers are particularly vulnerable. L&I offers these tips to beat the heat:

▪  Drink a lot of water. Start work well hydrated and try to drink a cup every 15 minutes.

▪  Keep an eye on your co-workers. Watch those working around you for signs of heat-related illness, including headaches, dizziness or nausea.

▪  Don’t overdo it. Pace your work and take scheduled breaks in the shade.

▪  Wear lightweight clothing and remove protective gear when it’s safe to do so.

▪  Limit caffeine and avoid heavy meals.

Employers with workers who work outdoors must train employees and supervisors to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illness and the steps to take if someone shows symptoms, state officials said.

Employers are also required to provide plenty of water for workers, respond appropriately to any employee with symptoms of illness, and include heat-related-illness hazards in the company’s accident prevention program.

For information, including tips to assist both workers and employers, visit www.Lni.wa.gov/Safety/Topics/AtoZ/heatstress.

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