While summer may be the perfect time to do any DIY task or start a big contractor project, it is also the time where the temperature is expected to soar up the scales and cause reduced concentration and increased risks for workers.
Extra care should be taken when working under extreme temperatures. It can reduce the ability to recognise risks and level up the possibility of heat-related illnesses that may lead to serious injuries or even death.
Here are some tips on how you can stay safe while working during the extreme summer heat:
If you are thirsty, chances are you’re already dehydrated. Never wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Instead of taking occasional guzzles, have frequent breaks to take a sip of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Having a drink bottle also comes in handy.
Take note that cold water causes the blood vessels to constrict, thereby reducing the rate of fluid absorption. It is always better to drink cool water rather than cold drinks. Coffee, tea, alcohol, and caffeinated soft drinks are diuretics, which means they increase the water loss and further contributes to dehydration.
Wear appropriate clothing
You can wear clothing with UPF 50+, preferably a light workwear made from organic materials such as fibres, as they can promote better airflow compared to synthetic fibres that tend to trap heat. You can also protect your skin by wearing loose, light-coloured shirts with long sleeves and collars, and long pants. Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30+ for extra protection.
Choose to accessorise to lessen the risk of heat stress. Broad-brimmed hats and wrap-around sunglasses give extra protection, while investing on a cooling vest may be a good idea to regulate your core temperature especially when performing extreme work in the heat.
Know your limit and always work within these bounds. Slow down and work smarter, not harder. Take frequent breaks in a shaded area rather than bulking up your work for a bigtime resting period to ensure a balanced work-rest cycle.
If possible, schedule harder and physically demanding workloads for the cooler parts of the day. You can check the forecast at the start of the day then adjust your schedule accordingly.
Have an emergency action plan
Having an emergency action plan must always be a part of anyone’s safety management system. Whether you are a one-man team or a contractor with a scope of numerous workers, you should establish a safety net to every possible unfortunate outcome.
Be aware of heat-related disorders and educate yourself about first-aid treatments to these. Since the weather tends to be scorching hot, more risks of a fire breaking out are there, so an escape plan is a must. Sometimes, the smallest things make the biggest difference in these situations.
It is important to get the job done, but your safety is always of utmost importance. Workers are the very foundation of any industry, and ensuring their welfare is the true mark of any successful activity.
To learn more about how you can stay safe now that summer heat is bound to give extreme working conditions, contact your local contractor management provider.