Health, Heat, Hydration
Did you know that workplace accidents increase by 30% in the summertime? The hot sun may feel great while laying poolside or at the beach, but excessive summer heat can take a toll on your employees. More injuries take place in the summer than any other time of the year.
The body’s natural defense mechanism to fight off heat is through sweat. In hot, humid weather, sweating alone cannot maintain a healthy body temperature. In order to prevent employee body temperatures from rising to dangerous levels, they need Water, Rest, and Shade. These are the three ‘ingredients’ that OSHA advises are necessary to keep outdoor employees hydrated and healthy.
In most cases, you cannot look at an employee and detect that they are dehydrated. Unless symptoms are so severe that they require medical attention, financial compensation, or time off, these incidences go undocumented. One study shows that dehydration resulted in over 500,000 hospitalizations yearly and results in $5.5 billion dollars in health care costs.
Dehydration in the workplace leads to increased accidents, mistakes, and waste. “It has been shown that a worker's ability to focus attention and the worker's reaction times can be dramatically reduced by even a 2% dehydration level due to heat stress.” (Occupational Health & Safety)
Hydrated employees = productive and happy employees
Proven benefits of hydration in the workplace include:
- Improved levels of cortisol (an adrenal hormone that combats stressful situations, influences central nervous system activation, immune responses, and fights fatigue)
- Increased productivity
- Improved performance
- Reduced health care costs
Drinking water helps keep us healthy! So why is it so difficult to keep employees hydrated? Here are some easy ways to improve employee hydration in less than a week:
1. Supply fresh fruit and vegetables to the office. Approximately 20% of daily water intake comes from fruit and vegetables. Not only is supplying fresh fruit and vegetables for your employees great for hydration but it is also beneficial to employee health and wellness as a whole.
2. Place water in an easily accessible area on the plant floor, construction site, or office building to increase drinking water consumption. Ever heard of out of sight out of mind? The same concept can be said for your company drinking water. If your drinking water is out of the way, employees aren’t drinking it as much as they should be. Water should be readily available for top-of-mind awareness and convenience.
If moving the location or source of your current drinking water is not feasible due to intrusive complications or stipulations, consider requesting a free trial of our Water Purification System, which can be set up and easily installed in almost any setting.
3. Hydration Education - Over 80% of the U.S. workforce is under hydrated on a daily basis. In 2014 alone, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illness – 18 died from heat stroke and related causes to the job. (OSHA) By educating employees on the importance of staying hydrated, they are more likely to aware of their water consumption.
It is required by law that employers protect workers from excessive heat. While it is up to employees to make sure they are doing the “right” thing, it is ultimately the responsibility of the Human Resources Representative, Hiring Manager, or Plant Floor Supervisor to make sure this is a seamless and effortless method. When something happens to one of your employees on the job, you and the company as a whole reap the consequences.
How hot weather is impacting your employee drinking water
The summer heat not only has negative effects on your employees, but can have negative effects on your drinking water too. When bottled or tap water is exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time, algae or mold may develop. Bottled water stored at room temperature for over 30 days causes rapid bacteria growth – higher temperatures greatly accelerate this growth. What’s hiding in your water? Request a free water quality test to find out.
According to OSHA, “Water should have a palatable (pleasant and odor-free) taste and water temperature should be 50°F to 60°F, if possible.” As discussed in a previous post, just because your drinking water looks and tastes fine, doesn’t always mean it is safe or healthy for your employees.
Water Fountains, Commercially Bottled Water, and Water Filtration Systems affect more than just productivity and hydration – they may be the indirect cause of sick days, wasted money, and increased liability. Pure Water Technology’s Purification Systems produce the best tasting water on earth – 100% free of chemicals, additives, minerals, bacteria, and pollutants. Don’t believe us? Try a free-trial for your business here or contact us at (888) 581-7873.