Staying Safe in the Summer Heat: A Guide for RI Outdoor Workers
July 12, 2023 Safety News

Staying Safe in the Summer Heat: A Guide for Outdoor Workers

As the summer sun shines bright, it's crucial for outdoor workers to prioritize their safety and well-being while braving the heat. In Rhode Island and surrounding communities, high temperatures during the hotest months of the year can pose health risks and lead to heat-related illnesses if proper precautions aren't taken. In this blog post, we'll provide you with essential tips and guidelines, along with valuable workplace safety resources from Beacon Mutual, to help you work safely and stay healthy during the summer heat.

Understand the Risks of Working in High Temperatures

Fortunately, most heat-related deaths and illnesses can be prevented. Learn the simple steps that can be taken to stay safe and healthy while working in the hot summer sun.   

  • Understand the signs of heat-related illnesses to take prompt action: When you're working in the heat, safety comes first. With the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool, you have vital safety information available whenever and wherever you need it - right on your mobile phone.


Prepare for the Heat

  • Stay informed: Check weather forecasts regularly and stay aware of heat advisories issued by authorities.
  • Hydration is key: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after work. The CDC recommends "For moderately intense work that lasts less than 2 hours, workers should drink approximately 1 cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes.  During prolonged sweating lasting several hours, workers should drink sports drinks containing balanced electrolytes."
  • Dress appropriately: Wear lightweight, breathable, and light-colored clothing to reflect sunlight and aid in sweat evaporation.
  • Sun protection: Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, wear a wide-brimmed hat, and use UV-protective sunglasses. Learn simple steps to reduce your risk for skin cancer

Implement Smart Work Practices

  • Schedule strategically: Plan your work to avoid the hottest parts of the day whenever possible.
  • Take regular breaks: Incorporate frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas to allow your body to cool down.
  • Work in pairs or teams: Look out for your colleagues and recognize the signs of heat-related distress in others.
  • Modify work intensity: Adjust your pace and workload during hot conditions to reduce strain on your body.

Recognize and Respond to Heat-Related Illnesses

  • Know the warning signs: Learn the symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other related illnesses.
  • Responding to emergencies: Understand the appropriate first aid measures and when to seek medical help.
  • Emergency preparedness: Familiarize yourself with the location of first aid kits and emergency contact numbers.


  • OSHA has launched a Heat Illness Prevention campaign, Water-Rest-Shade, which educates employers and workers on the dangers of working in the heat. Visit the site to learn more about heat-related illness symptoms, obtain education and training materials, and videos, and download the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool (HST) Smartphone App. The HST app provides weather information, heat index, risk factors, heat illness symptoms, and first aid measures.
  • National Council for Occupational Safety and Health's Outdoor & Indoor Workers Demand Protection to Beat the Heat campaign.
  • Beat the Heat, the Beacon Mutual safety alert, which provides information to avoid the dangers of summer heat by following the prevention tips and learning the signs of heat stress.

Visit the Safety Library to access free safety resources available to all Beacon policyholders and clients.

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Beacon Mutual
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Beacon Mutual

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