Pen riders spent a lot of time under the sun -- make sure heat stress measures for employees are also part of summer safety plans. Dee Griffin, DVM, MS, University of Nebraska, reminds those in the livestock industry to be aware of human safety during times of heat stress in addition to animal safety.
Maintaining feedlot personnel health during a heat crisis is critical. Without optimum output from personnel, heat stress management for livestock can’t be accomplished. These recommendations are for personnel doing reasonably strenuous outdoor work when temperatures are in the critical range.
- Minimize strenuous work during hotter times of the day or at least alternate between hard and light work. If personnel must do hard work, take a break each hour by spending 10-20 minutes of each hour doing less strenuous work, preferably in the shade.
- Force water consumption. Drink one to two quarts of water per hour. A buddy system should be used to make sure adequate water is consumed, workload alternates between strenuous work with periods of light work, and early signs of heat exhaustion are detected. Signs of heat exhaustion include mood changes, emotional responses, and confusion.
- If a person gets overheated, he or she should not return to strenuous work that day. Inside work or taking the rest of the day off is advisable. Failure to do this may result in the person developing heat stroke.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have materials available about heat stress and heat stress avoidance. Click here for more information.