ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- It’s the time of the year when it heats up outside and, sometimes, the temperature, along with the humidity, seems unbearable.Unfortunately, it is just going to get worse, until around the end of August. We can still get our jobs done safely and have some fun in the sun by taking a few simple precautions.Here, at Anniston Army Depot, we have procedures which go into effect when the heat is on.Industrial Hygiene takes wet bulb readings throughout the day. The technical term is Wet Bulb Globe Temperature and it is a measure of the heat stress in direct sunlight.Wet Bulb Globe Temperature takes into account: temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover. The heat index only considers temperature and humidity and is calculated for the shade. The military and the Occupational Safety and Health Association use the WBGT as a guide to manage workload in direct sunlight.When the WBGT reading reaches 90 degrees, IH sends an email to the ANAD workforce.When notified that the WBGT reading is at 90 degrees:• Pace work, taking adequate rest periods in shade or a cooler environment.• Use fans for ventilation and cooling, especially when wearing personal protective equipment.• Wear light-colored, loose clothing, unless work is performed around equipment with moving parts.• Keep shaded from direct sun where possible. For example, wear a hat outside.• Drink plenty of water. In hot environments, the body requires more water. Avoid drinks with caffeine and a lot of sugar. Sports drinks are good, because they replace electrolytes the body loses from sweating, but only drink those in moderation. Experts say water is better. Those on a low sodium or on a low carbohydrate diet, should consider sports drinks containing less sodium and carbohydrates. Remember, urine darker than lemonade is a sign of dehydration. The key is to start drinking water early in the day.The best way to prevent heat stress is to learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stress. There are four types of heat stress.Heat Rash, sometimes called prickly heat, appears as clusters of bumps on the skin. These are caused when the skin stays moist, usually from sweating. Sweat can’t evaporate from under clothing. Try to keep the area dry. Powders will help absorb the moisture, but never use ointments. Light colored loose-fitting clothing helps, but not in situations where the clothing might get caught in machinery.Heat Cramps are also caused by sweating. The body loses salts through sweat, causing muscles to cramp; usually the muscles being used. This may cause pain or muscle spasms. Drink water or a cool beverage. You can work, but don’t go right back to strenuous activity. Wait an hour or so. If the cramps don’t subside, seek medical attention.Heat Exhaustion is the next progression. Again, the body loses salts from heavy sweating. There are several signs a person might be suffering from heat exhaustion and person may have all or a few of these signs, including:• Cool, moist skin• Heavy sweating (clothes will be wet)• Headache• Nausea and maybe vomiting• Dizziness or feeling light headed• Weak• Thirsty• Irritable• Fast heart rateIf someone shows these symptoms at work, move them to shade or somewhere cool, call 911 and have them drink plenty of water, but not too fast. They should not drink beverages with caffeine or lots of sugar.The individual can be cooled by medical personnel with compresses, ice packs or wet rags placed around the neck, under the armpits and in the groin area to cool the body quickly.Heat Stroke is the most serious form of heat stress and can be fatal. Once someone suffers from heat stroke, they are more susceptible to heat injuries and illnesses. An individual suffering from heat stroke has lost a lot of their body’s water content and they are unable to regulate their core temperature.An individual with heat stroke will stop sweating. Keep in mind, this person’s clothing might be wet because they progressed from heat exhaustion. Their skin will be dry and hot, because the body is unable to get rid of excess heat.The symptoms are: confusion, fainting, seizures and very high body temperature. Call 911, as this can be fatal.Move this person from the heat and place them in a cool, shady area or an air-conditioned room. Put a fan on this person, if available. Medical personnel may cool them by placing cold compresses, ice packs or wet rags in the area of the neck, armpits and groin, to cool them down quickly.If they are conscious, give them water to drink. Stay with the person until help arrives.Remember to stay hydrated.ANAD has specific rules about drink containers. Closable-top drinking containers which cover the mouth area are allowed in work areas, to allow for proper hydration.Examples are bottles where the mouth only contacts surfaces segregated from the ambient environment, such as twist-top plastic bottles. This exception does not apply to cadmium or hexavalent chromium regulated areas. No food or drink is permitted in regulated areas.Unscheduled breaks will be permitted for individual employees as needed.ANAD wants employees to be safe and healthy, both on and off the clock. Remember these rules when taking vacations.Don’t forget about children; make sure they drink plenty of fluids when playing in the sun.Protect skin when outdoors by applying sunblock with an appropriate sun protection factor, or SPF, approximately 30 minutes before going out. Reapply often if sweating or in the water.Have fun in the sun, but don’t forget the simple precautions to protect yourself and your family.Sources:• OSHA.gov• CDC.gov