Kevin Marshall, safety training manager at PLH Group’s Power Line Services, tells his impactful story of suffering from a heat-related illness.
The summer sun sure feels good after many months of winter’s chill. But sun and heat aren’t always a good thing – especially when we don’t hydrate. To prevent employees from experiencing heat-related illnesses, PLH Group is focusing on proper hydration and other heat considerations across all of its business units throughout the entire summer.
It was 1988. Kevin Marshall was working in the oil patch in the middle of summer with temperatures in the upper 90s. Without having consumed much water, he skipped lunch, hoping to finish work early. But then Kevin began not feeling well. He insisted he was fine, but his crew members thought otherwise. He was no longer sweating and had turned bright red. When he couldn’t muster the energy to move, his crew members got him medical attention. He was unconscious by the time he got to the hospital. He went into shock, which caused his body to clench so tightly that he actually broke toes. After almost three weeks in the hospital, he went home to begin a long recovery, grateful for his life.
“I was 19-years-old when this happened. It could happen to anybody,” said Kevin, now a safety training manager for PLH Group’s Power Line Services.
“Like with Kevin’s story, there is a societal misconception that we need to toughen up on hot days and just power through to complete work – completely ignoring the potentially devastating toll heat may be taking on our bodies. And I’m not only referencing times when we are performing manual labor. This is just as applicable for a day at the beach,” said PLH Group Vice President of Safety, Health, and Environmental Elsie Bentley. “PLH Group knows proper hydration and heat-related illness prevention is crucial, so we are dedicating four months to educating employees about how to stay safe in hot environments, as well as providing nourishment to encourage hydration.”
During the entire summer, safety professionals throughout all PLH Group business units are providing employees with hydrating drinks and fruit, as well as engaging in conversations with crews to ensure employees understand the importance of properly hydrating, taking frequent breaks, and finding shade to prevent heat-related illnesses like heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. The conversations also cover the devasting effects of energy drinks on the body, as well as how to respond if someone on the crew displays signs of heat stress.
Throughout the summer, employees at all PLH Group business units discuss how to properly hydrate to prevent heat-related illnesses.
“Long story short, drink plenty of fluids,” said Kevin. “If you’re not drinking fluids and you don’t have a good diet, it’s going to catch you. I don’t care what your age is. It doesn’t matter who you are.”