Hot weather safety: Here are 4 tips for the hot summer days ahead

Hot Weather Safety Tips: A man and a woman working on a construction job site in the heat in front of a Komatsu D65PXi

Hot Weather Safety

The heat is on. Here are some tips to prepare for the hot summer days ahead

Hot weather is particularly challenging to the construction industry because workers are often exposed to the elements, including high temperatures and humidity. After enduring the hottest summer on record last year, protecting workers from the heat should be a top priority.   

Water being poured from a plastic bottle into a cup

Ounces of prevention

Hydration plays a significant role in reducing heat illnesses and keeping your body properly conditioned for the job. Fluid intake is essential before, during and after work. Recommendations call for drinking water or electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty — at least 6 to 8 ounces every hour. In extreme heat, it’s even more important to replenish fluids lost to perspiration.

Choose the right clothes

Appropriate clothing makes a big difference in hot environments. Choose lightweight clothing made of synthetic fabrics that wick sweat from the skin. For outdoor work, light-colored clothing is often recommended because it reflects the sun’s rays. Looser-fitting clothes will also allow air to circulate and cool the body. However, job sites present hazards with equipment and machinery that can catch baggy clothing, so be mindful.

Sunscreen is very important

Clothing is a great help in warding off the sun’s rays, but it’s essential to put sunscreen on any exposed skin. Pay attention to the sun protection factor (SPF) in your sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. An important fact to remember: UV rays pass through glass, so even if you are operating a machine or sitting in a pickup, use sunscreen.

Working times

All job sites get hot during the summer months, especially those in urban areas where concrete and asphalt trap heat, and can send temperatures soaring. Since the sun is directly overhead at noon, the hottest part of the day is typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Try to avoid scheduling work during those times if you can. If that’s not possible, plan for more frequent breaks, and seek shade where the temperatures are cooler, such as under an awning, an umbrella or a tree.

A man and a woman working on a construction job site in the heat in front of a Komatsu D65PXi
Keeping workers safe in the summer heat is essential, so try to avoid scheduling work during the hottest hours of the day. Employees should have access to water, sunscreen and frequent breaks.

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