Taking Care of the Most Important Thing in Your Shop – YOU

By Janet Tapp, Goodson Advertising Manager

We’re taking a little side trip with this week’s Tech Tip of the Week. Here in Minnesota where Goodson is headquartered, it’s hot. Yes, Minnesota, land of the Ten Thousand Lakes and just as many snowbanks is HOT. How hot?  Yesterday, June 27th we hit 96 degrees on my car’s thermometer. And like we say around here, it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. I think we had about 96% humidity yesterday too.

This heat wave we’re having got me to thinking about all of the guys working in the heat. I know that a lot of shops don’t have air conditioning and I have yet to see an air conditioned race track so we decided its time to do a tech tip about dealing with the heat. There is a lot of summer left and with heat like we’ve been having already, it’s important for you to take care of the most important thing in your shop – YOU.

Be sure that you’re staying hydrated

When it’s hot and humid, you need to take in more liquids than you normally do. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. By that time it’s too late. When you get dehydrated, you make mistakes. Your judgement gets clouded and you could hurt yourself or someone else if you’re working on a machine. Take my word for it, you do NOT want to end up in the emergency room because of dehydration. Not only will it cost you a bunch of money, but if you’re anything like the machinist in my family, you’ll feel pretty foolish too. You could have avoided the whole experience just by taking a few minutes every now and then to get a glass of water. If it is extremely hot or you’re working hard, drink fruit juice or sports beverages to help replace the sodium and minerals that you’re sweating out.

Don’t get overheated

There are several heat related conditions that you need to be aware of and take steps to avoid. They range from heat rash, an annoyance all the way to heat stroke or death. I could probably write many paragraphs about each of these conditions, but I’ll just give you a quick recap of the symptoms you need to be on the lookout for:

  • heavy sweating (heavier than normal) or absence of sweating with red hot, flushed dry skin
  • paleness
  • muscle cramps and/or pain
  • fatigue (unnatural tiredness)
  • weakness
  • dizziness and/or light-headedness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • fast and shallow breathing
  • fainting
  • vomiting
  • rapid pulse
  • hallucinations
  • confusion
  • agitation
  • disorientation
  • seizure
  • coma

So, did I scare you enough for you to take this seriously? I hope so. If you’d like to read more about heat related conditions, check out some articles on MedicineNet. Not only do they give more details about the conditions and their symptoms, there are tips on how to prevent heat related illnesses.

Pace Yourself and Use Common Sense

Whether you’re at your shop, at the track or anywhere else that leaves you exposed to the heat, use common sense and pace yourself. You may think that you just have to get this last job done and you can push yourself through it, but you don’t. You’re no good to yourself or anyone else if you’re laid up because you’ve gotten overheated. I know you’re out there working hard and building an appetite, but be careful not to eat heavy, protein-rich meals. These just raise your body temperature.

Heat waves, fortunately, don’t last forever (at least not here in Minnesota), but they can really put a hurt on you and your business if you’re not careful. Take care of yourself wherever you’re working – the shop, the track or wherever, we want to keep you around for a while. And don’t forget your pets. They suffer in the heat just as much as you do and they’re depending on you to take care of them.

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