Place water high on your Lawn Care Business’ safety checklist.
Safety Goggles? Check
Hearing Protection? Check
Work Boots? Check
Sun Screen? Check
This safety list for lawn care professionals is far from complete but before we go much further we must be sure to place a very important, yet often overlooked, item close to the top. Water.
Water. How much is enough to drink?
If you perform lawn care and landscping work outside during hot months you must monitor your water intake constantly through the day. According to a CDC report*, consumption of approximately one pint of water every 15 to 20 minutes is suggested for most people at risk of heat strain. Dehydration can be insidious and thirst or lack of thirst is not a clear indicator if you are dehydrated or not. Dehydration can affect the body cummulatively over a period of days therefore if you have not properly maintained your fluid intake during your workday you must catch up before resuming work. A body weight ratio may help you understand how much water loss occured during your work day. Again, according to the CDC report, body weightloss during a workday should not exceed 1.5%. Rehydration should be complete before the next day’s work.
Keep your pee clear.
Another method of monitoring your hydration level is keeping check on your urine. Urine should be clear, not dark. If you pee a color approaching that of a school bus you must curtail your work load and properly hydrate yourself.
The CDC discusses hydration in the Lawn Care Business.
Think about what the CDC say the proper hydration rate should be for those at risk of heat strain. One pint every 15 to 20 minutes. One pint per 15 minutes equates to 4 pints per hour. That equals 3 gallons of fluid intake during a 6 hour workday. This is only a recommendation and your particular need for fluid intake relies on many variables such as personal fitness, general health, outdoor temperature, and level of physical activity required in your work. You must also monitor electrolyte levels. People who drink too much water can dilute sodium in their bodies and are at risk of an effect called Water Intoxication.
Water consumption in our lawn care business.
A personal habit we adopted many years ago in our lawn care business was to carry two jugs per person with us each workday. One jug is filled with water and placed into the freezer the night before. As the ice melts during the workday we continuously drink from that jug. The water is always nice and cool and melts about as fast as we can drink it. The second jug contains a mixture of water and gatorade. We drink as necessary during the day to maintain proper hydration and electrolyte levels.
Operate a lawn care business? See your Doctor.
In addition to these suggestions, it is highly advisable that you monitor your health properly. See a phyician as needed. Alert your Dr. to your type of employment and have him keep track of your health history with your work in mind.