6 Things Every Industrial AT Needs in Their Toolkit This Summer
By: Susan Taah, ATC, LAT, CEIS
The sun is beating down, mosquitoes are biting, and the air is so humid you could gag on it. This is one of those times in the year where I dump out my sling kit, and reorganizer her a bit. Throw out meds nearing expiry, re-up on gloves, and most importantly make sure we’re set to handle anything the summer is going to throw at us.
Below are a few must-have items that should be in your kit this summer:
Electrolyte Drinks/Mixes/Ice Pops
This probably seems self-explanatory. It’s hot out there and even for industrial workers who aren’t outside, it can be hot inside their facility. Your team also may stay hydrated enough while engaging in recreational activities during the summer months. Encourage regular water intake and electrolyte replacement as often as you can and carry around hydration aids like electrolyte drink mix to put in their hands.
Bovie Cautery Tool
Subungual hematomas are extremely painful. You will find very few workers who are able to work productively if their thumb or index finger are involved. Thankfully they are so easy to resolveyou’re your full assessment doesn’t indicate a probability of fracture or other complications, save yourself and the employee some time and headache by keeping this tool handy to provide instant relief. Plus, evacuating a subungual hematoma does NOT make an injury a recordable so it’s everybody wins!
Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer
A wet bulb globe temperature is the most accurate way to properly assess heat hazards at your site. If your environment is not climate controlled, you should be collecting this data on a regular basis and using it to help the team and management know the risks and make informed decisions. And yes, you should still use a WBGT even if your team works indoors. If you are unable to get a wet bulb glob thermometer a temperature and humidity reader can help you utilize a heat index but be cognizant that it is not the gold standard.
Blood Pressure & Glucose Monitor
It’s halfway through the year and unfortunately the overwhelming majority of the healthy goals we set for ourselves in January are not even in the rear view mirror anymore. The summer is a great time to check in on your team and their overall health. Make sure they are still taking medications as prescribed by their primary physician, review lifestyle changes and make sure they are keeping up with their numbers. You won’t have a better opportunity than the summer to get this done so take these tools on the go and do a few people a day until you’ve touched base with everyone.
Is it exertional heat illness, a traumatic brain injury, or withdrawal? Depending on your setting an employee presenting with possible neurological deficit can be a difficult judgement call especially if you’re in the field. Carry a penlight with you always to make sure you’re prepared to perform a full cranial nerve examination. Has it been a while since you’ve needed to do so? Here’s your opportunity to pause and repeat the 12 nerves to yourself right now. Got ‘em all? Great! Got stumped? Spend the next 5 minutes refreshing yourself or throw an assessment guide card in your kit too.
Summers are hot and busy. Don’t make it a hassle to get a hold of you. Always carry a bunch of your business cards with you to give to employees so they can follow up with you via phone or text. An employee is probably not going to walk all the way to the clinic to tell you they threw up before lunch, but they will most certainly text you and then you can appear like a genie in a bottle. At least that’s what I do. Take it a step further by putting up posters or flyers with your contact information around high traffic areas like bathrooms, breakrooms, or time clocks.
There are other items that belong on this list, but they didn’t make the cut because they’re not general use enough, or too many disclaimers would have been necessary to explain why and how you should carry it.
Stay safe, healthy, and cool!
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