Working Outside? Tips to Working Safe in the Heat

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Yes, summer is about half way over, but those who have lived in Orange County for a while can agree that August and September are very hot compared to Jun and July.  If you work outside for a living, or plan on catching up on repairs around the house or yard work, you’ll want to remember these tips.

  1. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.  If you experience heat cramps or extreme thirst, drink water every 15 to 20 minutes.  CAUTION: Never drink more than 12 quarts of fluid in 24 hours.
  2. Wear a sunscreen with SPF 30 or above with “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on its label.  Reapply every 2 hours.
  3. Learn about the hazards and symptoms of heat-related illness and take precautions.  Symptoms include: dizziness, headaches, nausea, weakness, irritability, confusion, thirst, heavy sweating, confusion, thirst, and a body temperature above 100.4ºF.  If you stop sweating, begin to lose consciousness, or experience a seizure, get help; call 9-1-1 if you can.
  4. Take frequent rest and water breaks in a shaded or an air-conditioned area.
  5. If you wear protective equipment, remove it during your breaks.

Beware: The Broken Bulb

Broken Fluorescent2A few weeks ago, we informed you that fluorescent bulbs can be returned to your local hardware store after they break/burnout for proper disposal (and at no extra cost to you), but what if they crack/shatter in your home?  How do you clean up the mess properly, and safely, so your family isn’t exposed to the toxic mercury inside?

A broken fluorescent bulb can pose safety hazards beyond scrapes and cuts.  Fluorescent bulbs can contain mercury, which is known to cause health problems.  Mercury exposure can also harm unborn children.  Mercury exposure can occur from breathing in mercury vapor  from the air or through skin contact with mercury.  How can you, and your family, stay safe?

According to OSHA, the best thing to do is to:

  1. Store bulbs in a sturdy container, and label them.
  2. Open windows and doors to provide air circulation if a bulb breaks, but be sure to leave for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Leave the area if a bulb breaks, especially if you are pregnant, or have a compromised immune system.
  4. Don’t clean up fragments at work unless you are properly trained to do so.

Not everyone is trained on how to properly clean up when a fluorescent light breaks, nor have access to someone who does when one breaks in our home… What do we do then?

  1. Wear disposable chemical resistant gloves.
  2. Scoop up pieces with cardboard- do not use a broom or vacuum cleaner.
  3. Pick up any remaining pieces of glass with sticky tape, and then use a damp paper towel to wipe hard floors.
  4. Place all glass, and clean up materials, in a sealable plastic bag.
  5. Wash your hands and thoroughly after clean up.