Many workers in the construction industry referred to the summer of 2016 as a “Nuclear Summer” because of its extreme heat. If you believe all of the weather forecasts, the the summer of 2017 could be just as bad or, if the weather has no mercy, worse. Construction companies in the hottest parts of the country try to beat the heat by starting very early in the morning and being done with work early in the afternoon. But no matter what kind of tricks your construction company tries to get around the heat, the truth is that you will need some of your own ideas to beat the heat during the summer of 2017.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
The cornerstone to any good plan to beat the heat is still staying hydrated during the time you know you will be outdoors. Many construction workers like to use sports drinks to stay hydrate, but any sports drink that contains sugar will do more harm than good. Your best bet is to drink plenty of water while you are working, and get into the shade as often as you can. You can drink cool water, but avoid freezing cold water as that can be too much of a shock to your system.
Eat Right and Watch Your Weight
The construction industry during any summer season is brutal if you are carrying extra weight around. In a summer with potentially deadly temperatures, excess weight on a worker is not a good idea. Be sure to eat right and exercise regularly to keep your body prepared to handle the heat. Once again, the more sugar you can take out of your diet, the better prepared your body will be to handle the extreme heat.
Get a Cooling Vest
A company called Veskimo offers a vest that can keep your body cool under any conditions. There are a lot of products you can buy to beat the heat, and they can all help keep you cool. Even the spray bottles with fans attached to them can be helpful throughout the day as a way to take a break and cool off your body.
Build up to it
Many construction companies allow their workers to use a process called acclimation to get used to the summer heat. During acclimation, a worker will start with being asked to do 50 percent of their workload, and then the workload is slowly increased over the span of a week. By the end of the week, the worker should be acclimated to working in the heat. Keep in mind that acclimation is something that should be done along with all of the other ways to beat the heat, especially during intense temperatures. Acclimation helps, but it is not the only solution workers will ever need.
Set up Cool Places
During the winter, many construction companies set up warming buildings for workers that include heaters and warm drinks. During the summer, construction companies should set up cooling buildings that offer shade and cool drinks. Every worker should take shelter from the hot weather at least a couple of times an hour to prevent over-exposure.
Beating the heat is more than just staying cool, it also includes reducing the exposure your skin has to the sun’s rays. It is impractical to protect the skin by wearing more clothing because that only compounds the heat problem, but it is also dangerous to leave skin exposed to the heat for too long. The middle ground is wearing a strong sunscreen that will protect your exposed skin. Remember to re-apply sunscreen throughout the day as perspiration can help to erode the amount of protection that you get.
Have a Smaller Lunch
Our body becomes more vulnerable to heat after you have a big lunch on a construction site. A big lunch will cause your body to become drowsy, and this will become enhanced by the heat of the sun. During the summer, bring lighter lunches to work and avoid buying big lunches if you leave the site to eat.
Adjust Work Schedules
The summer of 2017 is going to be uncomfortable for everyone from Dallas to New York City. Construction companies throughout the country should consider altering work schedules to help avoid working in the heat. The peak time for heat issues is normally around 3:00 p.m. on any given day. If the company can create work shifts that start early in the morning and end at or around 3:00 p.m., then that will help workers to be more productive.
Train Workers on Identifying Heat Related Issues
Construction companies should train workers on how to identify heat-related issues, and have experts on-site who can treat heat problems right away. Exposure to the heat can have long-term effects that could cause a construction worker to have to leave the construction field. In some cases, over-exposure to the heat can result in death. Companies need to train workers on how to identify the symptoms of heat-related illnesses, and have the right medical professionals and supplies on-site to handle the problem.
It is important that construction workers and companies work together to prevent any kinds of injuries due to heat exposure. As the summers get hotter, the potential for heat-related illnesses increases dramatically. Workers should never assume that they won’t be affected, and companies should have the right resources on hand to handle the problem and save worker lives.
If you want to learn more about protecting workers during the summer heat, then start a course with PDH Contractors today and get all of the information you need. With PDH Contractors, you can get the latest information on running a safe construction work site, and you can also have access to the information you need to renew your contractor’s licenses or get your license for the first time. Join up with PDH Contractors right now and check out the full library of useful information available to contractors who are ready to grow their business and advance their careers.