Truck Driver Safety Tips for the Heat

This summer temperatures have been soaring well into the 90’s and even peaking above 100. Add to that a humidity that refuses to quit and you’re left with heat indices upwards of 105 and more! For truckers this sort of extreme heat can typically be an afterthought. Heck, you’re in your cab enjoying the air conditioning compared to the unlucky souls who have to climb up onto a roof and swing a hammer for most of the day, what’s there to worry about? Easy, it’s not the climate controlled riving but the second half of a trucker’s job, unloading the rig. We’ve had several reports already this summer about drivers experiencing different forms of heat fatigue from heat exhaustion all the way up to heat stroke. Take the tips from this blog to make sure you’re not going to be counted among those rising statistics.

First, keep in mind there are different forms of heat related illness, some much more serious than other. In this instance, heat stroke is a far worse circumstance than heat exhaustion. However, both are possibilities for an incautious trucker working hard in the back of a truck bed.

Heat exhaustion may occur after exposure to high temperatures for several days, which given this summer’s temperatures isn’t a far-fetched scenario to find yourself in. Typically, heat exhaustion goes hand in hand with dehydration but could also be lost through the loss of electrolytes as well. Thus that gives us two types of Heat exhaustion, water depletion & salt depletion. Water depletion is typified by thirst, weakness and headache. While the symptoms of salt depletion are more drastic including nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and even muscle cramps. If you are feeling any of these symptoms it’s important that you take the following steps, as untreated heat exhaustion can turn into heat stroke if not properly treated.

To handle your heat exhaustion you should do the following:
• Drink lots of Non-Caffeinated and Non-Alcoholic liquids
• Remove tight or unnecessary clothing
• Take a cool shower or bath if you can
• Get out of the Sun
• And even add cool, damp towels or fans around you if possible.

Heat stroke is the more dangerous of the two and is actually a form of hypothermia if you can believe it. It has both physical and neurological symptoms which if left unchecked can do significant damage to a body and even lead to death. Again heat stroke is a result of dehydration and extreme temperatures within the body; it is just in this case the consequences are significantly worse and the product of a prolonged exposure to this distress. Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately. Some heat stroke symptoms truckers need to be on the lookout for are as follows:

• Very high body temperature
• No sweating just a red face
• Difficulty breathing
• Hallucinations
• Disorientation

Now it is the hope of this blogger that if you are unexpectedly experiencing any of those symptoms regardless that you go get checked out anyways, but if he gets involved make it a top priority. Basically, from a first responder perspective there are very limited options to treat heat stroke in the field. The name of the game at this point is to get the individual into the shade, remove most, if not all of the victims clothing and try to begin cool the body, which could read temperatures of over 106 degrees. A garden hose or cool water is a good start, as an ice bath might shock the body. Try and keep track of the temperature if you can with a thermometer and call paramedics who can come and help while providing further coaching to you to aid the victim.

So that’s about it road warriors, make sure you’re aware of threats of heat exhaustion and heat stroke in these temperatures. Hopefully, what you learned here doesn’t have to come in to effect for you, but in case it does we hope you learned something. If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to shoot us an email.

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