A growing body of evidence points to dehydration as one of the most widespread and least understood hindrances and dangers on the job.
Many studies have linked dehydration to lower physical and mental performance. One percent dehydration has been found to decrease productivity by 12%. When a person reaches 3-4% their productivity decline is between 25-50%.
Workers will begin to experience a decrease in cognitive abilities, reduced concentration and alertness, and slower reaction times. At 3% dehydration your reaction time is the same as having 0.08 Blood Alcohol Content. At 0.08 BAC you are 5 times more likely to crash your car.
By the time someone is thirsty, that person is already 2-3% percent dehydrated. An indication of dehydration levels is the colour of urine. The darker the colour the more dehydrated you are, depending on where you are you will need to consume between a cup of water to at least a litre or more
Along with becoming dehydrated you also lose vital essential salts and minerals known as electrolytes. They play a key role in helping the body retain water. If electrolytes aren’t replaced involuntary dehydration can occur – the body struggles to rehydrate even when fluid intake exceeds sweat rate.
Being aware of when yourself or your employees are at risk of becoming dehydrated is a good measure to keeping your workplace safe. Providing employees with plenty of water access as well as access to electrolyte drinks will help keep them sharp and safe making your workplace a safer environment.