Keep Construction Crews Working SafelyJuly 13, 2016
Avoiding the Risks of Extreme Heat
Summertime is the construction industry’s busy season but, when temperatures rise above 90˚, it’s also one of the most dangerous. Overworking staff in extreme heat is not only an OHSA violation punishable by fines or lawsuit, but it’s also a major on-the-job risk. Workers suffering from dehydration and heatstroke are more likely to cause an accident while operating heavy machinery or to make another avoidable mistake that can cost you money, delay a job or put other employees at risk.
Educating yourself and your staff about the risks of extreme heat is an important responsibility for construction business owners and managers. Here are some tips to share with your staff that will help keep them working safely all summer long:
- Staying hydrated is the number one best thing you can do to beat the heat. The effects of dehydration are subtle and often manifest themselves in ways you don’t expect. You may find yourself making careless mistakes on the job or feeling more irritable than usual. Staying hydrated requires two things — drinking lots of water and avoiding things that dehydrate you, such as coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks, salty food, cigarettes and more.
- Eating well will give you the energy you need to work a full shift. Start with a big breakfast that will give you a boost in the morning, then eat a light lunch. Burning off calories consumed via fatty or sugary foods expends energy, which makes you more tired and less comfortable, especially in hot weather. Many construction workers have a tendency to turn to fast food for a quick meal on the job — thinking ahead and packing a healthy lunch instead is one of the best ways to stay safe in the heat.
- Don’t push yourself too hard. Driving yourself to the point of exhaustion on a hot day makes you more likely to make a careless mistake that can put you or your coworkers at risk. Take it slow, work carefully and if you need a break to rest or hydrate, take one.
- Look out for one another. Signs of heatstroke include flushed skin, headache, rapid breathing and excessive sweating. If you see one of your coworkers displaying these signs, or any otherwise erratic behavior, check in with them. If they need help, take them to a shady place contact your foreman to see that appropriate first aid is administered.
In extreme heat, renting a chiller or air conditioner can help you avoid risk and improve your crew’s productivity. Fabick Cat has a number of portable, high efficiency units for rent. For help finding the right equipment for your upcoming job, contact a rental representative today.
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