The summer months come and go in the blink of an eye, but warmer temperatures can linger on well into the fall. When working in hotter conditions, employees need to take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses. Below are five safety tips to keep your crew safe during the summer.
Staying well-hydrated is the body’s best defense in hot working conditions. Provide plenty of water onsite for your employees and encourage them to frequently rehydrate.
Shaded Areas for Resting
Make sure employees have a chance to take breaks out of the direct sun to avoid heatstroke and sunburns. Wearing lighter mesh clothing and sunscreen are also important tools to staying safe in the sun.
Take Constant Breaks
Continuous work in the heat is not advisable. Your team should take frequent breaks to cool off when working in hot weather.
This chart from the CDC estimates the amount of break time your employees will need depending on weather and type of work being done. For example, doing moderate work in 103 degrees Fahrenheit would require a 30 minute break for every 30 minutes of work.
Learn to Recognize the Signs of Heat-Related Illness
Heat stress is dangerous mainly because it can come on very suddenly: the person experiencing it may not even know they’re suffering from heat stress. Train your employees to recognize the signs of heatstroke and heat-related illnesses, and teach them how to respond.
Some signs of heat stress include:
- Muscle cramps
- Clammy, damp, or pale skin
- Strange behavior or altered mental state
- Panting/rapid breathing, rapid heart rate
If someone is experiencing any of these symptoms, they should stop working immediately and seek medical attention.
Use Climate Control Equipment When Working Indoors
Working inside on a hot day can begin to feel stifling very quickly. Using industrial-sized fans or air conditioning can keep employees cool, safe and productive.
Hugg & Hall Utility Services offers multiple air conditioning units, including the Airrex w/ Dehumidifier which offers programmable controls and operating range of 64-113 degrees. This can be especially important to control the dampness in the air to keep materials dry and provide cool air for employees.
Prepare your equipment, jobsites, and employees for warmer temperatures to help avoid injuries and downtime from work. Visit our blog to learn more summer safety tips!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2021. We updated it for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness in February 2023.