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Hot weather conditions are always harsh for workers. As per Osha, 50% to 70% of worker deaths due to heat-related illnesses are caused by an inability to adapt to a hotter environment. In addition, thousands of workers sustain heat-related health problems every year that can even lead to deaths.

How to Keep Employees Safe in Summer

In Summer construction workers are usually at a lot of risk from heat and according to OSHA regulations, this is what workers can do.

1. Gain Proper Training:

Prevention is always found better than the cure in every case. The workers can get proper training beforehand on the symptoms of heat stroke. This way they can be prepared and take preventive measures even before the heat affects them. They can learn about the usual signs and symptoms their body may show before any heat-related illness including heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Moreover, they can learn about different preventive measures to counter these symptoms.

2. Stay Hydrated:

One of the main reasons for getting a heat-related health issue is dehydration. When your body is deprived of water in extremely hot weather you can pass out. Therefore it is pertinent to keep your body hydrated even if you do not feel thirsty.

Ask your employer to plant water coolers on the working site and keep on drinking water after a few minutes. If you do not have access to the water cooler try to bring your own water bottle and keep on drinking. In addition, you can have lemonade if you do not feel like having plain water in large quantities.

Adding a little slice of lemon to your drink can give a refreshing taste. Try not to have caffeinated drinks as they can promote dehydration you can instead have electrolytic drinks. Make sure to have cold water and avoid room temperature water as cold water can help fight heat.

3. Have more Breaks During Long Shifts:

Construction work requires a lot of energy and effort from the workers. Long shifts on hot days can exhaust every worker. The best way to battle exhaustion on long summer days is to take frequent and short breaks. Ask your employer to allow a quick break after every hour so that you can catch a breath and drink water.

Utilize that break, and rest for a while. Make sure to rest under shade or in an air-conditioned room but avoid switching between hot and cold as it can have a negative effect on your health. Our bodies are not designed to sustain the sudden shifts in temperature so it’s better to take shorter breaks and rest in some shady areas.

4. Schedule your Work Hours Wisely:

If you want to avoid the hottest hours of the day you will have to schedule your work hours wisely. Usually, construction working shifts are 7 to 8 hours long but the workload is not the same throughout the shift. To avoid heat stroke you can leave the heavy work for morning or evening hours as those hours are comparatively cooler.

Try to do simple tasks that require less energy during the hot midday hours to avoid exhaustion and dehydration.

In addition, you have to plan your indoor and outdoor work hours according to the time of the day. Try to finish your outdoor tasks early in the morning and get back inside as soon as the day gets hotter. Plus you can keep an eye on weather updates and plan your hardest tasks on the days when the weather is pleasant.

5. Choose Weather-Appropriate Clothes:

The way you dress plays a very crucial role in the regulation of your body temperature. If you have to work in an extremely hot environment try dressing up in clothes that can beat the heat and keep your body cool. While dressing up for a hot day on your construction site keep these points in mind.

  • Your attire should be comfortable
  • Do not layer up and wear only one layer of clothing at a time
  • Choose lightweight fabric

Also, you can request your employer to allow you to wear loose clothing even on the construction site just for the hottest days of the year.

6. Protect your Head:

Your head is one of the main parts of your body as your brain controls all other parts. You have to protect your head in hot weather so that your brain can function properly. Extremely hot environments can affect your brain and your body would not be able to regulate its temperature. 

Therefore try to cover your head with a hard hat (if you are not wearing a helmet) so that the sun can not affect your head. Your working helmet itself protects you from heat so avoid removing it even if it makes you sweat as it is protecting your head. You can even carry an umbrella so that your beck and head remain protected. Plus, you can get cooling bandanas online and wear them while you are on a working site.

7. Watch What you Eat:

Construction workers require more energy as their work requires them to stay outside most of the time. A good healthy meal can give you an energy surge but can you eat differently to avoid heat? Yes, you can. If you want to remain fresh and cool during your work hours try to avoid oily foods and heavy items as they can upset your stomach and can exhaust you in hot weather. Instead, you can eat a light vegetarian sandwich or a fruit so that you can feel lighter and happier even if you have to work on a hot day.

8. Watch out for Early Signs of Heat Stroke:

If you want to avoid the severe effects of hot weather, be mindful of some early signs of heat stroke and exhaustion and try to ask for help if you notice any of the early signs. Report to your manager if you have one of the following signs without waiting for the worst:

  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Feeling extremely hot
  • Uncontrollable sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramps

In conclusion, you can avoid heart exhaustion and heat stroke even if you are working on a construction site, you just have to be mindful of some early signs and preventive measures.