Construction Safety Tips During the Hot Summer Season
When the heat of summer hits, commercial construction work becomes much more dangerous. Thousands of construction workers are hospitalized every summer because of heatstroke. This is a real tragedy because heatstroke is 100 percent preventable if the right safety precautions are taken. To stay safe this summer while you are on the job, follow these tips to beat the heat while working construction.
Drink Hydrating Beverages
The number one key to avoiding heatstroke is to keep the body hydrated. It is important that you make sure to drink something every 15 minutes when the heat is intense. The vast majority of the fluid you drink at work should be cool water. You can round this out with electrolyte-replenishing fluids like coconut water, sports drinks and fruit juice.
Avoid Dehydrating Beverages
As important as it is to drink hydrating beverages, it is equally important to avoid drinking beverages with diuretics like coffee, soda, tea and alcohol. These beverages containing diuretics will cause you to urinate more frequently, which rapidly increase dehydration. Drinking too many diuretic beverages while working in the heat is a quick way to head to the hospital with a severe case of heatstroke.
Sunblock Is Crucial
Whenever you are outside, you should be wearing sunblock or sunscreen. If you want the best protection, choose a sunblock that has “broad-spectrum” UV protection. That means the sunblock protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. You need to protect against both types of radiation because they both can damage the skin.
Make sure to recognize the difference between sunblock and sunscreen. Sunblock protects through a physical barrier, and it starts to work instantly. Sunscreen needs 30 minutes to penetrate the skin to create a chemical barrier against UV radiation. Sunblock is the safer choice for busy folks like construction workers.
If at all possible, local building contractors should begin commercial construction work very early in the morning. Smart workers will urge their bosses to let them get started as soon as the sun is up when the summer heat gets to extreme levels. Getting the bulk of the work done in the cooler mornings before the sun has a chance to superheat the atmosphere is always a smart move.
Choose Your Clothing Wisely
The best type of clothing to wear in the summer sun is light-colored, lightweight and loose fitting. Loose-fitting clothing allows air to circulate around the body, providing some much needed cooling. The new moisture-wicking materials they make clothing from are amazing. It will suck the sweat right off your body. This is very useful in humid environments where the natural cooling effect of evaporation is slowed.
All local building contractors would rather have their workers take frequent breaks in the shade rather than get heatstroke. When it is particularly hot, a five-minute break every hour in the shade is a smart idea. This is a time when workers can be reminded to rehydrate thoroughly and reapply sunblock as well.
Listen to Your Body
Your body will let you know with signs it is getting overheated. If you start to feel dizzy or weak, then head immediately to a shaded area to take a five-minute break. Other signs that your body is overheating include headache and goose bumps. If you feel nauseated, then you may be well on your way to heatstroke and need to find an air-conditioned space to rest in immediately. If you start vomiting, then you are already suffering from heatstroke.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Heatstroke is not something to take lightly. It can cause organ failure, muscle damage, blood disorders and even death. If you or someone else on the job is suffering from heat stroke, seek medical attention without delay.