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How UPS Drivers Stay Safe During Summer Heat: Hydration is the Key

Summer has delivered its annual blend of heat and humidity to most parts of the U.S. For UPS drivers – who spend most of their working hours outside – staying safe during hot weather is crucial.

Here at UPS, we take a comprehensive approach to safety and wellness with hydration as a key element. In fact, our hydration program is a year-round effort that includes a hydration self-check card. According to UPS Occupational Health Manager Janice Hartgens, “Hydration is fundamental to our safety process. We would like our employees and their families to develop hydration habits that become second nature.”

So what are the best practices that UPS employees follow? And how are they useful to others? Read on.

U.S. Army photo by Christopher Miller

Drink water throughout the day

You’ve probably heard the old adage “drink 8 glasses of water a day.” Well, it’s a good practice to follow. At UPS, we recommend our employees drink 8 to 10 servings of water a day. And it’s important to stay hydrated even if you’re not thirsty. By the time you start feeling thirsty, you are already starting to get dehydrated.

Avoid drinks high in sugar and/or caffeine (e.g. energy drinks)

Caffeine and sugar pull fluid from your body, which contributes to dehydration and impairs the body’s ability to sweat.

Eat light meals and choose foods high in water content

Hot foods and heavy meals can slow the body down, making you feel lethargic. Foods high in sugar and salt contribute to dehydration. Instead, choose fruits and vegetables, which naturally have high water content.

Wear lightweight, loose clothing

Loose-fitting clothing can help keep your body cooler and helps the body lose less fluid through sweating. And don’t forget the sunscreen. Keep your skin protected when you’re spending time outside.

Know which medications can trigger dehydration

Believe it or not, some medications and supplements can affect your hydration levels. Allergy and asthma drugs, laxatives and supplements like ephedrine and stimulants can cause dehydration. Check with your physician for information and guidance.

Stay alert to signs of heat-related illness

Symptoms can range from tiny blister-like spots known as heat rash to more serious signs such as nausea and headache, which can indicate heat exhaustion. Ignoring the symptoms can lead to heat stroke, a potentially deadly condition. The CDC provides a list of symptoms on heat-related illness at its web site.

Category: Helpful Tips and Ideas
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    Comments [4]

  1. I’ m a UPS driver at the Lancaster Ctr in Ca. and a sports
    professional gave me a great tip on how to keep my body
    temperature cool while working during hot summer peak
    hours ( 10am- 3pm ), wear a wrist band and keep
    adding cold water to the band. It works.

  2. I am the wife of a UPS driver and I’m concerned for my
    husband and all UPS drivers during this heat wave.
    There has been 2 deaths this week of football players
    at football practice because of the heat. They are
    outside less than our UPS drivers. Seeing all UPS
    drivers on a sprint most of the time anyways, in this
    heat and the demands put on them, could be as
    disastrous as a football practice. He is staying
    hydrated but sometimes that isn’t enough during times
    like these. What is UPS doing to help our husbands,
    fathers, sons to eliminate them from over heating?

    • Hi Shelly:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. The
      hydration practices we shared in our blog post are
      part of UPS’s comprehensive safety program. Along
      with hydration self-check lists for our drivers, we host
      Pre-Work Communications (PCMs) and display
      posters to reinforce best practices for all UPS
      employees. Several UPS locations also provide ice
      machines, bottled water and sport drinks for
      employees. We also encourage our drivers to take
      their breaks in air-conditioned facilities.

      I agree that the story about the two high school
      football players is tragic. Unlike UPS drivers, football
      players wear heavy protective gear during their
      workouts. And while UPS drivers are keeping a steady
      pace during their workday, the activity level is different
      from the high intensity workouts that football players
      undergo.

      Debbie

  3. A lot has happened in my 20 years as a driver,I have to admit that i never thought
    I would see ups give free bottle water and gatorade to its employees,but I have to agree that sometimes that is not enough I was wondering with global warming and hotter temps maybe the hours that employees are subject to the heat would not be a concern.

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