Toolbox Talks: Hydration

By C.A. Lawton | January 19, 2022
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Toolbox Talks are an effective method of communication for employees at The C.A. Lawton Co. Each week, a handout is designed and posted by our compliance coordinator, Katherine Jungwirth. This handout is created to freshen everyone’s memory and remind them of various safety precautions.

This week we’ll share some tips from the talk on hydration. It’s easy to take hydration for granted in the cooler months, but hydration is essential all year-round.

We’ve all experienced it at some point when working or playing hard – fatigue sets in; your mouth feels dry, your legs are heavy, and maybe you even get a headache. These are all common signs of dehydration.

When you are working hard, body fluid is lost through sweat. Dehydration and early fatigue are unavoidable if the fluid lost through sweat is not replaced. In addition, losing even 2% of body fluids (less than 3.5 pounds in a 180-pound person) can impair performance by increasing fatigue and affecting cognitive skills.

During the summer heat, it’s easy to become dehydrated if you don’t drink enough fluids to replace what is lost in sweat. However, dehydration can easily be prevented.

  • When to drink: Ensure you drink before you start working, trying to catch-up for lost fluids after a period of time is very difficult. Also, drink before you get thirsty. By the time you’re thirsty you are already dehydrated, so it’s important to drink at regular intervals – especially when working in a hot environment or when it is hot outside.
  • What to drink: Water is truly one of the best things to drink. Research also shows that a lightly flavored beverage with a small amount of sodium encourages people to drink enough to stay hydrated. The combination of flavor and electrolytes in a sports drink like Gatorade provides one of the best choices to help you stay properly hydrated.
  • What not to drink: During activity, avoid drinks with high sugar content such as soda and even fruit juices. These are slow to absorb into the body. Also alcohol and caffeinated beverages should be avoided.

How much to drink depends on your activity level and how much your body is losing in fluids. In general, when you are working and sweating, you should drink at least every half-hour. Ensure you are drinking enough to replace your lost fluids.