Working outside in the heat of summer can pose some significant health risks to construction crews and laborers. Even seasoned professionals can feel the effects of the heat when temperatures get high enough. Here are some hot-weather safety tips for construction workers and managers that will help reduce the chance of heat-related injuries during summer work.
- Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is probably the most important thing you can do to stay comfortable and injury-free during the summer work season. Individuals working outside in the heat of the day should drink plenty of water to maintain their health. Regular tap water is fine as a hydration source. Adding some flavorings such as lemon or lime juice can make water more tolerable. Commercially made drinks that are rich in electrolytes could also be substituted for water.
- Avoid energy drinks, sodas, and caffeinated fluids: Do not drink high-caffeine energy drinks since they provide only small amounts of hydration while increasing your heart rate and acting as a diuretic that removes water from your system. Carbonated soft drinks and sugary sodas are also not recommended for hydration purposes.
- Stay out of the sun as much as possible: It is not feasible to completely stay out of the sun on a construction project unless work is being performed indoors. However, for outdoor workers, shade can provide cooling when needed to prevent overheating. Use canopies or other shading systems when possible. Even occasional access to shade will help workers stay cooler and help prevent the effects of excessive heat.
- Avoid work in high temperatures: When outdoor temperatures are extremely high, consider rescheduling the work for a time of day when the weather has become cooler. Temperatures above 90 degrees can be dangerous for outdoor laborers. See if the work can be done in the evening or even at night when it’s cooler outside.
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