Summertime is a great time for construction, but the summer heat creates significant risks for work crews. Once temperatures start to rise above 90 degrees, heat stress becomes a significant concern. Excess heat can cause fatigue, distraction, and loss of attention to detail. All of these factors can lead to workplace accidents, injuries, or even fatalities. The following recommendations can help construction workers stay as safe as possible during the summer months.
- Stay hydrated. Water is the best source of hydration for construction crews, but it’s not the most interesting for taste. While many crews opt for Gatorade or other electrolyte-heavy beverages, even adding a few slices of lemon to the water cooler can help boost water consumption to keep crews hydrated. This suggestion includes limiting caffeinated or sugary beverages, as they don’t aid hydration and caffeine acts as a diuretic.
- Bring on the shade. It’s not always possible to work in the shade so construction companies should consider bringing the shade to their workers. Bringing canopies or umbrellas to offer a cooler place for crews to assemble parts or take breaks can make the difference when it comes to crew safety.
- Eat healthier lunches. Junk food is faster to pack and easier to come by on construction sites than healthy alternatives, but they come with their own set of problems. Junk food is high in fat and calories, which requires more for the digestive system to process. In extreme heat, this can put excessive stress on the body.
- Make smart uniform choices. Designing a company logo doesn’t seem like a safety concern, but it can be. Construction companies should opt for lighter color schemes so workers clothes can reflect the light. When choosing uniform materials, opting for cotton can help clothing breathe better as well. Some companies even specialize in sweat-wicking fabrics to help keep workers cool and dry.
- Stay alert. Construction supervisors should ensure their crew knows the signs of heat exhaustion. Keeping an eye on one and other can help workers keep each other safe. If a worker notices someone dropping tools, slurring their speech, stumbling, or appearing disoriented, that individual should report it right away.
Keeping workers safe from the effects of extreme temperatures is vital for the welfare of employees and the success of the company. To learn more about construction safety, contact the experts at The Reilly Company.