5 Summer Construction Safety Tips
It may technically still be spring, but it feels more like summer season here in the Midwest and many other parts of the nation. The sun is finally out and service is picking up– and as constantly, the altering seasons bring different hazards for construction workers out in the heat and humidity. Here’s exactly what to look for as temperatures rise.
1. Stay hydrated and eat smart
This is an obvious one– when you’re working hard and sweating under the sun, remaining hydrated is necessary. Don’t wait till you’re thirsty to pick up a drink; OSHA suggests taking a drink every 15 minutes. And though it might be tempting when the weather condition is slowing you down, prevent sweet and caffeinated beverages, which can dehydrate you much more.
In the same vein, you might consume a little lighter in the summer season versus the winter season. Consuming a heavy meal and then returning to work in the heat can make you sleepy and unpleasant– and because a nap typically isn’t really an alternative, attempt choosing a salad over a hamburger at lunch.
2. Acknowledge indications of heat stress
Heat stress, which manifests as heat exhaustion or heat stroke, can be prevented if you understand how to recognize the signs. Heat exhaustion happens when the body is sweating excessively and losing too much water and salt. You might be woozy with a fast heart rate and feel nauseated or very tired. If you feel these signs beginning, rest, drink water or take a cool shower.
Heat stroke, on the other hand, takes place when your body is overheating and unable to manage its temperature. If there’s no place for excess heat to go, your body will save it. Symptoms consist of feeling puzzled, pulsating headaches, seizures and hot, dry skin or sweating. Heat stroke can lead to death or impairment and need to be taken extremely seriously– if you acknowledge these signs in yourself or anyone else, get instant medical attention.
Heat stress training is a great subject for a toolbox talk (or 2) this month– it’s easy details to cover and might save a life.
3. Change work schedules
On the most popular days, it may make the most sense to postpone work until a cooler time of the day. In Phoenix, for example, it’s not unusual for roadway work to happen during the night– both to fight temperature levels nearing 120 degrees Fahrenheit and to keep concrete from setting too rapidly. You may decide to begin work earlier in the morning instead, prior to midday heat sets in.
If you do opt to carry out work at night, specifically road work, there are a couple of more risks to protect versus. Workers are less noticeable, even with intense lighting, and motorists are most likely to intoxicated or tired. The Federal Highway Administration supplies resources for deciding when night work should be performed and the best ways to do it safely, so take advantage of those if you go this path.
4. Use lighter clothes and sunscreen
Personal protective equipment (PPE) can be heavy and hot, so opt for lighter-colored, light-weight alternatives. Contrary to popular belief, you may still wish to wear long pants and long sleeves that offer sun security. Picking breathable, loose-fitting fabrics will keep you cool and keep your skin protected from UV rays.
Sun block is something you don’t wish to avoid– too much sun exposure can indicate uncomfortable sunburns and even skin cancer. Select a sun block that’s sweat-resistant and reapply throughout the day. Even on cloudy days, it’s possible to obtain too much sun, so make it part of your everyday regimen.
5. Take breaks
The importance of routine breaks cannot be understated, particularly for anybody who is not utilized to operating in the heat. While getting adjusted to the heat, you should not work as tough as you typically do initially– develop to your routine work throughout a couple of days. Rest often in a cool, shady place and utilize that time to take a beverage and reapply your sun block.
As they do for many common building safety concerns, OSHA conducts a continuous campaign for heat security. The Heat Health problem Prevention Campaign started in 2011 and can be summarized in 3 words: water, rest, shade. You can also download their Heat Security Tool app, which takes a look at heat index (temperature + humidity) rather than just temperature. Whatever techniques you utilize, keep everybody safe and cool on the jobsite this summer season.