As temperatures rise, chances are your workload will, too. Summer brings an influx of jobs to the construction industry, and that can mean long hours in the sun, heat and humidity for your team — and your equipment. Here are a few tips to keep both safe during the dog days of summer.
KNOW THE SIGNS OF HEAT ILLNESS
Heat-related illness is real, and if it’s not treated quickly, it can result in severe complications or even death. Let your team know you take it seriously — you don’t want anyone acting “tough” and continuing to work through symptoms like:
- Excessive sweating, fatigue, thirst and cramps in the stomach, arms or legs. These are indications of heat cramps, the first stage of heat illness.
- Fatigue, disorientation, nausea, headache, rapid heart rate and moist, clammy skin. These are signs of heat exhaustion, which can quickly escalate if ignored or left untreated.
- Elevated body temperature, loss of consciousness, convulsions, vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms may indicate heat stroke, the most dangerous heat-related illness.
Keep a close eye on workers who are 65 or older, overweight or on medication — they may be more susceptible to heat problems than others.
KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SEE IT
Train your team to recognize the warning signs in themselves and others. Victims of heat exhaustion or heat stroke aren’t always aware of what’s happening to their bodies, so urge your workers to watch for anyone exhibiting symptoms, alert a supervisor and call 911 if necessary. It’s also a good idea to move any affected individuals to a shady or air-conditioned area, lay them down and elevate their feet, remove any tight or heavy clothing and give them water to drink. You can also help cool them down using a fan or a spray mist.