Exposure to extreme summer heat can put workers’ health at risk. Taking some simple steps can help you stay cool and keep your work sites safe.
Construction and engineering professionals are always on the move, working on a wide range of outdoor projects that could put them in harm’s way through extreme weather. The summer months are prime time for this type of work. An understanding of how to deal with high temperatures is a must. Remembering the following safety tips while working in the sun is not only beneficial to your health,
but also can have a positive impact on the success of your projects.
Sending employees into the field during a heat wave? Gradually increasing the amount of time — no more than 20 percent each day — a worker spends in the heat over a seven- to 14-day period will give the worker’s body time to acclimate.
While working in the summer months is difficult to avoid for most, reducing the stresses of exposure to the heat is possible. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are the most common risk factors when working outdoors in the summer. Get acquainted with the signs and symptoms of these conditions. For heatstroke, look for a strong pulse, lack of sweat, and skin that is hot to the touch. The symptoms of heat exhaustion may include heavy sweating, malaise and weak pulse.
“At Burns & McDonnell, we know we are greatly concerned about our families, fellow employee-owners and our clients,” says Jamie Butler, a vice president and the firm’s director of safety and health. “As we strive for perfection, it is up to us to look out for one another at the worksite and beyond.”
Tips for Staying Cool on the Worksite
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing.
- Wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen.
- Perform outdoor activities early in the morning or late in the evening. Eat small meals more often.
- Aim to drink 5-7 ounces every 15-20 minutes to replenish necessary fluids lost through perspiration.