Water: Are Your Employees Getting Enough?
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Using Water to Maintain Health and Safety in the Workplace
There are many health benefits from drinking water including everything from weight loss and reduced fluid retention. But above all, the body simply can’t function without it. So how much water should your manufacturing and recycling employees actually be drinking each day?
Health Benefits of Water
Understanding how our bodies and health can benefit from water is the first step employees should take to determine how much water they need each day. Water is the body's principal chemical component, comprising, on average, 60 percent of the body’s weight. Every system in our bodies depends on water. Water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Lack of water can lead to fatigue, dizziness, cramping and other symptoms of dehydration – symptoms that pose serious risks in the workplace.
Recommended Daily Intake
Every day the body loses water through breathing, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For the body to function properly, water supply must be replenished by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
Replacement and simple dietary recommendations can help approximate water needs for an average adult living in a temperate climate. The replacement approach refers to replacing the normal amount of fluids typically lost each day. On average, two liters of water or other beverages a day (a little more than eight cups) along with a normal diet, will replace lost fluids.
As a rule of thumb, ensure employees are drinking enough fluids to rarely feel thirsty, along with producing colorless or slightly yellow urine. It’s important to remember, that employees may need to modify their total fluid intake depending on how vigorous their tasks are in the climate they’re working in. Keeping chilled water in a refrigerator accessible to facility employees, or in a cooler inside the truck of those working in the field, is a crucial responsibility as an employer.
The Fluid of Choice
To ward off dehydration, water should be the beverage of choice. To help daily water intake, drinking a glass of water with each meal – plus one between each meal – is another helpful rule to follow. Although uncommon, it’s possible to drink too much water. When kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in low sodium levels in the blood, a condition called hyponatremia. Endurance athletes, such as marathon runners who drink large amounts of water, are at higher risk of hyponatremia. In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who eat an average American diet.
For more information on keeping employees healthy in and out of the workplace, chat with an ‘A’ Team member. In the meantime, watch our webinar recording for a better understanding on how wellness impacts workers’ compensation costs.
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