The looming concern of dehydration for a heavy equipment operator
We often preach others that in case of diseases preventive measures are way better than the cure itself. However prevention does not pan out to be realistic option for some quarters of people in our society due their professional obligations. Yet after applying plentiful of resources and expenditure for risk management, many outside workers like heavy equipment operators succumb to death or serious physical disabilities rendering them permanently unfit to join the service again. The case is not very different for some physical workers for instance dry cleaners, mechanics, boiler room workers, bakery staff, steamfitters, plumbers and so on who perform within the enclosure of walls. Taking all the possible defects into account, it can be asserted firmly that dehydration poses the biggest threat for all sorts of hard labor workers. According to NIOSH, every individual has a threshold upper value to withstanding the rising heat content of surrounding environment and that capability to maintain body temperature is influenced by a host of factor like age, blood sugar status, alcoholism profile, physical built and lifestyle etc. yet above all the determiners, it is the type and strenuousness of the job that take the toll most on body.
On-paper standards & the ground realities:
Since date, there have been innumerable health tribunals and commissions set up by the government and sometimes by the management to recommend the best health practices to be adapted by the professionals working in hot weather conditions. The most considered indices by notable health organizations like CDC, WHO in making out the heat hazards for workers are- wind velocity, humidity, radiant heat and most necessarily atmospheric temperature. Then come, the individual-specific factors like sex, age, heat tolerance, acclimatization to changing working conditions and hydration level. For such complexity in measurement, it was finally advised to the industries to develop their own set of methods to determine the optimum level of heat tolerance though the industries are hard to be heard since there botheration is only own profits.
Adversities of dehydration and palliation:
Medical data shows that dehydration level, as low as 2% of an individual’s body weight, can impede motor nerve senses; doom the vision momentarily; impair the short-term memory and attention and arithmetic efficiency. If the situation deteriorates further to 4% of body weight, a considerable 23% reduction in reaction time happens, entailing significant increase of work-related accidental risks. The biggest threat of dehydration comes from the greatest companion of the workers- the encapsulated protective clothing. Such clothing causes unceasing perspiration in hands and feet incrementing the chance of slippage of operating devices. Appointers often get out of their comfort level to teach workers about the behavioral & medical risks and the symptoms of heat-related illness as well. Although they utter the misconception that fluids intake is enough to prevent heat related stress while instilling the necessity of safe working by providing adequate breaks, proper scheduling, taking plenty of cool water, gradual acclimatization to adverse work conditions, preparing an emergency plan etc. are the most successful steps in preventing untoward situation.