Working Outdoors & Staying Cool During Summer

May 17, 2022
Working outdoors safely in summer

Prolonged exposure to hot weather, including working outdoors for long hours, can be detrimental to a person’s health. Heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat cramps and rashes can quickly result and become serious, if not treated promptly. Heat stress can also lead to conditions like sticky/sweaty palms, fogged glasses, and dizziness, increasing the risk of accidents or injuries on the job.

For those who must work outside during the hot months of summer, we offer some tips and best practices for protection.

Best Practices

  • Stay hydrated.
    Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to hydrate. Instead, consume small amounts of water frequently. Avoid beverages with high amounts of caffeine and sugar.
  • Eat right.
    On a hot day, go for fresh fruit, vegetables, and nuts to replenish electrolytes. Avoid large meals and foods with heavy metals like brown rice, fish, and leafy greens.
  • Choose proper clothing.
    If possible, wear light-colored, loose-fitting, and breathable clothes. A hat will add protection from the sun; a cooling neck wrap or vest will regulate body temperature.
  • Work in the morning (if you can).
    Avoid working during peak temperatures and sun. Schedule jobs in the morning or evening when it’s cooler.
  • Take shorter shifts.
  • Seek shade.
    Work in the shade whenever possible or better yet, find an air-conditioned space. Take frequent, short breaks in covered areas. When in the sun, don’t forget to use sunscreen.
  • Know your health situation.
    Some medications and medical conditions are impacted negatively by heat. Consult your healthcare provider to be sure you are in the clear.

Warning Signs

Heat Exhaustion

  • Fatigue or dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Muscle cramps

Heat Stroke

  • Throbbing headache
  • No sweating
  • Body temp above 103°F
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Unconsciousness


Centers for Disease Control & Prevention


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Disclaimer: The GUARD Wire is designed to provide general information about various topics of interest and should NOT replace the guidance, advice, or recommendations from licensed insurance or legal professionals, other industry experts, or state and federal authorities.