by Lori Riddle

tank construction; field welded tankThe Fourth of July has come and gone and it's time to face the heat. Fisher Tank Company crews are working on tank construction and tank repair projects all over the U.S., from Texas to Colorado to Maine to Charleston, and everywhere it's hot and likely to get hotter. 

This time of year, road crews start early, joggers start early, and yard work happens in the morning or late in the evening. Fisher Tank Company's steel plate fabrication facilities in South Carolina and Pennsylvania start at 7:00 am to get in as much work as possible before the hottest part of the day. Our field erection crews start early, too. But life and work don't stop because it's hot, so awareness is key to preventing heat related illness.

According to the National Weather Service, heat causes hundreds of U.S. fatalities each year. Heat can be a killer, and it bears repeating that anyone working outside – and sometimes inside – is a potential victim.

Many of us are accustomed to the heat, and working in it is just part of life, at least in the summertime. Here in the South, we pride ourselves on "sweating buckets" and getting the job done. And my Indiana grandmother used to proclaim that she was "sweating bullets" while hanging her late-July laundry on the line. Sweating while working in the heat is a good thing – it means all systems are working as they should. However, all that sweat means we've got to replace lost fluids, and be aware of heat-related illness as very real and ever-present danger.

Who's at risk? Everyone. Working on the job, working around the yard or house, playing outside on the weekends: all are potentially dangerous situations. Heat-related illness is insidious – it can sneak right up on you, especially when you're concentrating on finishing a project, working outside in the sun and humidity, working inside a high-heat building, such as a manufacturing or fabrication facility, or wearing Personal Protective Equipment (you are wearing appropriate PPE, aren't you?).

The Mayo Clinic suggests the following symptoms of heat related illness as potential danger signs:

    • Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat

    • Heavy sweating

    • Faintness

    • Dizziness

    • Fatigue

    • Weak, rapid pulse

    • Low blood pressure upon standing

    • Muscle cramps

    • Nausea

    • Headache

These symptoms, even just one or two of them, should not be ignored. If moving somewhere cooler, applying cool, wet cloths to your face, neck & exposed skin, loosening or removing clothing and sipping water don't help, it's time to escalate the situation and seek medical help.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heat illness can rapidly become heat stroke, indicated by the following symptoms

    • High body temperature (above 103°F)*

    • Hot, red, dry or moist skin

    • Rapid and strong pulse

    • Possible unconsciousness

These symptoms of heat stroke are an emergency and should be handled as such.

The dangers associated with heat aren't new, and most of us nod and say "Yeah, it's hot. It's July. We know how to work in the heat." However, nobody sets out of fall victim to a heat stroke! It happens when normally intelligent, cautious, experienced people get in a hurry, skip a step or two in preparation, get started without the right equipment/supplies, or keep going even when that little voice says "you should stop."

If you need to work in the heat, take commonsense, practical steps to prepare yourself, and to avoid heat related illness or heat stroke. OSHA sums it up best with this graphic advisory:

OSHA heat related illness banner

Be prepared with appropriate clothing, adequate water and/or sports drinks, rest frequently and find some shade when you can. Look out for your own health and safety, and watch out for your fellow workers this summer. If someone around you has been sweating buckets, bullets or anything else, take a moment to make sure he or she is okay, and pass the water!

Please be informed! For more information on heat related illness identification, treatment and prevention, please check out these resources: 


Contents of this website and blog are for informational purposes only and are not intended, and should not be taken, as the Company's direct and/or formal advice or opinion on any particular set of facts or circumstances, and the information is not universally applicable. While we intend to make every effort to ensure that all information on the site is accurate, we do not assume liability for the content, accuracy, timeliness, completeness or other aspect of the information provided. For our input or assistance in addressing specific issues, contact Fisher Tank directly. 

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