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Summer Construction Safety Tips for Working in The Heat


By Construct-Ed Inc.

Do you work in the construction industry in an area susceptible to high temperatures?

For those who work in the construction industry, certain hazards are just part of the job. And one of the most physically and mentally taxing of these hazards is working in the heat of the summer season. In most states across the U.S., temperatures can soar to almost 100 degrees or higher! If you work on rooftops, the temperatures can climb well past the daily temperatures on the ground.

The heat can become a major contributing factor to poor performance on the job. The key to not allowing it to affect your job performance is all about keeping yourself healthy and staying cool. Stay safe working outside in the heat with these five key tips.

(DISCLAIMER: Please note that we are not doctors and this is not medical advice. We just really care about helping construction workers maintain their health to perform better on the jobsite! If you have any questions or concerns, it is best to consult your doctor or primary care provider.)

 

1. STAY HYDRATED

In the dead of summer, the first tip to outside work safety and productivity while on the job is to STAY HYDRATED with…WATER. Not sports or energy drinks, not coffee or tea…WATER. One of the best things that you can do for your body is to keep up with drinking water throughout the day and to replenish your electrolytes. When it comes to replenishing electrolytes, try squeezing a bit of lemon into your water, adding a pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt, or adding an electrolyte powder.

2. EAT HEALTHY

The second tip to maintaining your health while working in the heat is to maintain a healthy diet. Sure, it’s a lot easier to run to a convenience store during your lunch break, but convenience usually doesn’t mean healthy. Often, that prepackaged food you can find at a local convenience store may be full of sugar, preservatives, excess salt, and other harmful chemicals that degrade your body’s performance over time if they are consistently consumed. Avoid processed foods when possible.

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3. WEAR SUNBLOCK

Third tip – make sunblock part of your “summer uniform.” Most of those who make a living in the construction industry, work outside in the sun during the summer season. The sun’s rays can be brutal in the summer, causing sunburn and worse, skin cancer. Not only is sunburn uncomfortable but is even more uncomfortable when it is being rubbed by clothing. Try to find a sunscreen with a high SPF and make it a part of your daily work schedule to apply (and most likely reapply) to protect your skin from damage and yourself from the headache of working with a sunburn.

4. STAY PHYSICALLY FIT

This is especially important as you cannot maintain quality of workmanship in brutal heat without building up the physical stamina to do so! Try to stay physically fit during the off hours of your day to help your performance during the workday! This does not necessarily mean you have to pay for a gym membership… Try making a walk in the morning or a walk in the evening part of your daily routine. Or even better, make a run part of your daily/weekly routine!

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5. REST UP

Perhaps the most underrated but important tip is to make sure you are getting enough rest. Your body cannot maintain good health working outside in the heat if you do not allow your body ample time to rest every night. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! Your body depends on quality rest to replenish your energy and restore the wear and tear that it went through during the workday.

Staying safe in the heat on construction sites takes preparation and common sense. Look ahead at the temperatures that you will be working in and take common sense precautions to keep yourself safe.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE

National Weather Service Heat Index
The National Weather Service provides a heat index. The heat index takes into account the relative humidity along with the actual temperature to provide the user with the Heat Index Temperature. The Heat Index Temperature is the feel of the temperature.

Please refer to the chart for a quick example:
https://www.weather.gov/media/unr/heatindex.pdf

If you are working in an environment where the relative humidity is 75% and the temperature is 88, the actual feel of the temperature is 103 degrees. This is shown in the danger zone on the chart. Construction workers will need to take precautions in these situations.