Staying physically fit s is especially important as you cannot maintain quality of workmanship in brutal heat without building up the physical stamina to do so! Try to stay physically fit during the off hours of your day to help your performance during the workday! This does not necessarily mean you have to pay for a gym membership… Try making a walk in the morning or a walk in the evening part of your daily routine. Or even better, make a run part of your daily/weekly routine!
OSHA – www.osha.gov
OSHA data search on GC’s – www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.html
Summer Safety Hazards:
- Ease into work – New and returning workers need to build tolerance to heat and take frequent breaks.
- Drink Cool Water – Drink cool water even if you are not thirsty – at least 1 cup every 20 minutes.
- Take Rest Breaks – Take enough time to recover from heat given the temperature, humidity, and conditions.
- Find Shade or a Cool Area – Take breaks in a designated shady or cool location.
- Dress for the Heat – Wear a hat and light-colored, loose-fitting, and breathable clothing if possible.
- Watch Out for Each Other – Monitor yourself and others for signs of heat illness.
- If Wearing a Face Covering – Change your face covering if it gets wet or soiled. Verbally check on others frequently.
All employees and employers should try the OSHA-NIOSH heat safety tool app. This is a great tool to give you a better idea of what it feels like outside. It is a free app and can be found on Android and iPhone. The app will show you what it feels like at the current time and another screen will show you what is expected heat index’s in the future hours. OSHA consider 80 degrees as the temperature when heat is triggered. That is the point where this index will show ‘Caution’. Anything above 80 degree heat index is considered a time to take extra cautions. The bottom of the screen has icons to see ‘Hourly’, ‘Symptoms’ of heat issues, ‘First Aid’ for heat issues, and more. All instructions are very clear and the app is easy to navigate. It uses your current location or you can enter a different location if you need to assess different job sites for safety.
Summer Safety Series:
We are all fully in summer mode but are you taking all the steps you should to be safe right now? The next 10 weeks we will bring you a reminder to focus on each week.
1. STAY HYDRATED
In the dead of summer, the first tip to outside work safety and productivity while on the job is to STAY HYDRATED with…WATER. Not sports or energy drinks, not coffee or tea…WATER. One of the best things that you can do for your body is to keep up with drinking water throughout the day and to replenish your electrolytes. When it comes to replenishing electrolytes, try squeezing a bit of lemon into your water, adding a pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt, or adding an electrolyte powder. Staying hydrated is key to staying safe. OSHA recommends drinking cool water even if you’re not thirsty—at least 1 cup every 20 minutes. And stick with water: Sugary and highly caffeinated beverages like soda and energy drinks can promote dehydration, thus increasing your chances of a heat illness.
2. DRESS FOR SUMMER
Your employees should always wear clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) that meets safety regulations. However, bulky garments can contribute to the risk of heat illness. Employees should avoid dark, heavy materials wherever possible and opt for the following instead:
- Light colors: Light-colored or white clothing reflects sunlight, which keeps you cooler.
- Natural materials: Materials like cotton and linen are naturally lightweight and sweat-wicking, which keeps you cool and comfortable. Avoid heavy synthetic materials whenever possible — they trap heat close to the skin, which can be dangerous in high temperatures.
- Mesh: Mesh is highly breathable and sweat-wicking, making it an excellent choice for top layers and safety vests.
- Built-in ventilation: Vented shirts allow maximum breathability and comfort.
Some companies have created specialty gear that fulfills safety requirements while still providing relief from the intense summer heat. While these pieces can be pricey, increasing your employees’ comfort levels is worth the cost. Here are a few examples:
- Hard hat sweatbands: These bands are designed specifically to be worn under a hard hat, where they can absorb sweat and provide an extra layer of heat protection. You can even freeze them to keep you cooler for longer.
- Wide-brim hard hats: Standard hard hats are great for cool weather, but they do little to protect your skin from the sun. Hard hats with fuller brims give your face and neck extra coverage.
- Nape protectors: These inserts are like curtains that hang down from the back of your hard hat to shield the back of your neck from the sun, which can keep your whole body slightly cooler.
- High-visibility reflective garments: Light, breathable, reflective clothing repels sunlight and makes your team members more visible to their coworkers and pedestrians.
Make sunblock part of your “summer uniform.” Most of those who make a living in the construction industry, work outside in the sun during the summer season. The sun’s rays can be brutal in the summer, causing sunburn and worse, skin cancer. Not only is sunburn uncomfortable but is even more uncomfortable when it is being rubbed by clothing. Try to find a sunscreen with a high SPF and make it a part of your daily work schedule to apply (and most likely reapply) to protect your skin from damage and yourself from the headache of working with a sunburn.
3. PROMOTE HEALTHY HABITS
Fit, nourished, and well-rested people are better able to withstand the summer heat than sedentary people with poor diets. Healthy meals, hydration, and plenty of rest are important factors for staying sharp and focused while on the job.
One way to encourage employees to take care of their bodies is to implement a stretch and flex program, which can help prevent work-related injuries. Short exercise breaks throughout the day can help loosen workers’ muscles and increase alertness, which reduces the risk of injury.