Summer temperatures and heat illnesses such as sunburn, exhaustion, and sunstroke have the potential to affect productivity and safety for contractors and crew members working outside. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your crew stays cooled down, and productivity stays up.
1. Adjust Job Schedules to Avoid Working Too Long in High Heat
The middle of the day is the hottest and most hazardous for working outside. Consider adjusting your schedule to make it easier for your crew to safely get the job done:
If heavy work must be done throughout the day, have your team rotate through jobs, so the same crew members aren’t doing the most intensive jobs all day. Keep an eye on those wearing thick clothing or protective gear, and allow them to rotate jobs or take extra breaks.
Also, be sure to track how many hours your crew members are putting in. Even if they want to work overtime, it may not be safe to spend those extra hours in the heat.
2. Create a Shady Hydration Station to Provide Relief From the Heat
When crew members are feeling the effects of the heat, they will be less productive. Allow them to take extra breaks whenever they’re feeling too hot and encourage them to stay hydrated:
3. Train Your Crew to Recognize Heat Stress Symptoms
Properly training your crew members on the hazards of heat exhaustion and how to recognize heat stress symptoms is crucial to having a safe summer. You can also encourage them to download OSHA’s Heat Safety app, which provides updates on your local heat index and information on heat illness symptoms and treatment. Some common heat-related symptoms to watch out for include:
Once you’ve educated your crews on the symptoms of heat illness, they can use a buddy system to keep tabs on fellow workers and alert their supervisor should anyone show signs of overheating.
More than 40 percent of heat-related, on-the-job deaths occur in the construction industry.* These tips can help you keep your crew safe and productive in the heat, but chances are the heat isn’t your only challenge this summer. See our infographic for information on preparing for another one of this season’s greatest challenges: storms.