Mine site hydration is of utmost importance, working in the heat can sometimes be hazardous, and without the right safety processes in place, employees are in harm’s way.
The human body is comprised of over 60% water, so exposure to hot environments, or working or performing strenuous activities in these conditions can cause people to sweat up to 1 to 2 litres or more per hour.
Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling down, and maintaining adequate hydration is critically important to ensure workers avoid becoming dehydrated and feeling the effects of heat illness and heat stress. Dehydration severely affects an individual’s performance and general well-being. Just a 2% loss in fluid may impair the output of workers dramatically, and higher percentages of fluid loss can cause more severe effects.
There are several options to mitigate the risk of incidences of dehydration, heat illnesses, and heat stress in the workplace. Firstly, sources of heat can be eliminated or substituted by scheduling work during the cooler parts of the day. Secondly, engineering and isolation controls can be used to remove heat, like using fans to circulate the air or erecting barriers to protect workers.
When heat sources cannot be eliminated, substituted, or engineered away, then a suitable hydration program, work apparel, and PPE are of vital importance to managing the risk to employees.
A supply of water to workers is the key to successful hydration programs. Various options exist to have water readily available, from individual carried bottles and cooler jugs, through to hydration backpacks. Hydration stations using 20L or 40L coolers are useful to administer water to multiple workers at once.
“Having an adequate supply of electrolytes is an important factor to consider when developing a hydration program, which is why Sqwincher® can play a vital role.”
Proper hydration does not merely mean drinking litres of water. While water is a key component, our body also needs certain amounts of electrolytes to stay adequately hydrated.
Essential electrolytes such as Sodium, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium are lost through sweat and must be replaced. Blood pressure, fluid balance and muscle contractions are some of the key functions that electrolytes help regulate in our bodies.
Having an adequate supply of electrolytes is an important factor to consider when developing a hydration program, which is why Sqwincher® can play a vital role. Sqwincher® offers a range of drinks and concentrates, from regular, to frozen, to sugar-free options, and they come in all sizes to cater for every workplace.
In addition to hydration, cooling products such as neckties, hard hat inserts, and cooling towels can help increase your body’s natural ability to dissipate heat through evaporation. For more extreme thermal environments, ice or cooling vests use frozen liquids to keep the body’s core cool.
So if your team is working in the heat, make sure you have a comprehensive plan of action to deal with any scenario. This will help ensure your workers stay safe, focused, and productive.