Preventing Dehydration at Work

If you work outdoors or in warm environments, you could be particularly susceptible to dehydration – a condition that occurs when your body loses more water that it takes in. Upon becoming dehydrated, your body won’t be able to function properly, possibly resulting in heatstroke or even heath. As summer temperatures rise, it’s vital to understand the symptoms of dehydration and ways to prevent this condition on the job.

The warning signs of dehydration include excessive thirst, tiredness, dry mouth, muscle weakness, headache and dizziness. If you begin to experience any of these signs at work, don’t ignore them; take a break and inform your supervisor immediately.

Prevention is the strongest defense against dehydration. In particular, it’s important to consume plenty of healthy fluids (e.g., water, sports drinks, decaffeinated tea and low-sugar fruit juice) and foods high in water (e.g., fruits and vegetables). Unfortunately, determining the appropriate water intake isn’t an exact science; it depends on your age, physical condition and body chemistry. The best overall approach is to make a conscious effort to stay hydrated and periodically consume fluids throughout the workday. Adjust your fluid intake to match your activity level and working conditions during task requiring heavy exertion. For more information on avoiding dehydration, consult your supervisor.

Ensuring Safe Laptop Use

Laptops have made working remotely much easier. However, the company layout of these devices creates some safety concerns. In fact, according to recent research from Cornell University, the fixed design of laptops poses significant ergonomic dangers to users – increasing the likelihood of injuries such as sprains and strains, chronic back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. With this in mind, consider the following precautions to ensure proper laptop use and safety while you work:

  • Maintain an arm’s length distance between the screen and your eyes to prevent eyestrain. Try to keep the screen at eye level to avoid constantly slouching or looking down.
  • Use a full-sized keyboard and mouse whenever possible. Attach these devices to your laptop and position them appropriately.
  • Sit up straight, keeping your shoulders, hips and ears aligned. Also, make sure your hips are slightly higher than your knees.
  • Avoid resting your wrists or palms on the table or laptop while typing. Instead, keep your wrists straight and position the keyboard at elbow height.
  • Take short breaks and stretch every 20 to 30 minutes to allow your body to recover from any strain.
  • Never use an incompatible replacement battery or charger with your laptop. If you’re unsure about compatibility, contact the device’s manufacturer.
  • Be careful not to get the laptop or battery wet. Though they dry over time, moisture will corrode the circuitry, posing a serious safety hazard.

Talk to your supervisor for more information on safe laptop use.