Hydration is often a second thought while completing a rigorous work day, though it should be a primary focus.
Hard hats, harnesses, face shields, goggles, hearing protection, respiratory gear—you make all the right moves when it comes to protecting your employees from external dangers, but what about internal dangers? Appropriate hydration is essential to preventing mental and physical fatigue, both of which are leading contributors to workplace accidents. Before employees go on shift, it’s important to make sure they are protected on the inside, too.
Water is great for helping the bloodstream recover from dehydration and is essential for everyday processes in the body. However, water alone cannot replenish the fluids and electrolytes lost through perspiration, nor the carbohydrates burned during hard work. Without these replenishments, the body can’t be as productive or precise in carrying out the tasks at hand, productivity wanes and the potential for accidents and injuries increases.
Therefore, it is critical to not only educate your employees about proper hydration, but also provide them with a hydration program to help them maintain healthy fluid levels and replenish what is lost during a hard day’s work. Here are some tips for success.
Focus on hydration in toolbox talks. Educating workers about hydration is as important as education on safety protocols and equipment use. Hydration, much like PPE, is a critical component of health and safety in the workplace year-round. Proper hydration throughout a shift will not only replenish what’s lost during hard work, but also help the body function optimally, prevent muscle cramps and keep employees alert and feeling good. Dehydration can make employees more at-risk for accidents, injuries and heat stress.
Include hydration standards in your written safety plan. Until recently, many safety plans overlooked hydration. As employers recognize the potential productivity gains and accident reductions resulting from a well-hydrated workforce, hydration standards are becoming a welcome addition to safety plans.