Staying Cool in the Heat, Safety Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses

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Summertime is upon us and with the rising heat index, we encourage our oilfield crews and others who work outside to change their daily habits now that the “heat is on.” In the Permian Basin, temperatures have already hit three digits, but heat exhaustion can happen any time when working out in the sun. Because of the hot temperatures, heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, are a potential risk and can happen when the body is not able to properly cool itself.

Some warning signs of heat-related illness to look out for are:

  • High body temperature (103° or higher).
  • Hot, red, dry or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse (heat stroke) or fast, weak pulse (heat exhaustion)
  • Headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion or losing concentration (passing out)
  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale or clammy skin

At Axis, we take a proactive approach to managing these drastic changes in temperatures outside and adjust our work activity to the environmental conditions.  We have regular safety meetings and tell our crewmembers on the rigs what we expect of them when it gets too hot:

  • Drink plenty of fluids; implement crew rotations requiring crewmembers to drink one glass of water every 60 minutes
  • Do not allow caffeine drinks on location, such as sodas and energy drinks; drink a sports drink instead to replenish salt and minerals that sweating removes from your body
  • Implement shorter, more frequent breaks—drink more water and eat smaller meals more frequently
  • Set up a pop-up canopy on the side of a crew trailer
  • Partner up when doing tasks
  • Stop working at the first sign of fatigue (headaches, cramping, darker color urine, stopped urinating or sweating), and then go cool off at a designated cooling spot.

Other tips for preventing heat-related illnesses include wearing sunscreen of SPF15 or higher 30 minutes before going outside and reapply as necessary, avoid hot or heavy meals, and stay away from sugary drinks.

“We get up every morning to do one thing: to be able to provide for our families,” says Dirk Lee, Axis CEO. “We write procedures and policies for a reason, so please take your time out there. I know it’s hot outside, but make sure you’re taking plenty of breaks when you need to, take your time to do the job right and keep yourself safe, and drink plenty of fluids.”

Our motto of “One Team, One Goal” pertains not only to getting the job done, but getting it done safely as a team. Thank you to our crews who are committed to safety and health!

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