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Risk of Dehydration for Outdoor Workers
Facts and Tips for Staying Hydrated While Working Outside

Risk of Dehydration for Outdoor Workers

The Institute of Medicine recommends eight 8-ounce cups of water a day to remain hydrated and productive in an outdoor work environment.

Reed Erickson, MD, a representative for MedExpress, an occupational medicine and workers' compensation provider, recently released a report about the risk of dehydration in outdoor workers. In the report, Erickson states that while employers are often stern about water consumption during the summer months, their vigilance seems to fade as fall approaches. However, Erickson reveals that he "typically sees workers' compensation visits related to dehydration as late as November and as early as March."

The report states that as many as 75% of Americans are not getting enough water. This nationwide level of constant dehydration can especially affect the work performed by workers in labor-intensive industries, such as the landscape industry. Erickson advises that employers look out for the symptoms of dehydration in their workers. These can include confusion, irritability, nausea, headaches and more.

Erickson concludes with a few steps that employers can take to encourage water consumption on worksites year round.
1. Educate - According to Erickson, many people do not have a solid understanding of how important hydration is to overall health or work performance. He recommends including hydration tips in all safety seminars and training sessions.
2. Support - Education should be reinforced with the distribution of reusable water bottles that employees can refill to prevent dehydration. Erickson says that employers should also ensure that cool water stations are conveniently located across worksites to encourage continuous water consumption.
3. Reward - Erickson suggests implementing a hydration-tracking program in order to check the rate of employees' water consumption and subsequently reward those who maintain healthy practices.

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October 17, 2019, 9:52 am PDT

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