Preventative Measures for Heat Stress
Preparing for Rising Temps & Managing Your Time in the Heat
Only a few short months ago, we discussed the importance of staying warm while outside on jobsites in extremely cold temperatures. It may feel comfortable and pleasant outside right now, but as with true Midwestern weather, the extremely warm temperatures are now just around the corner. As these summer months approach us, we should all recognize – and act to prevent – the harmful effects of working in the heat.
Exposure to heat can result in occupational illnesses like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat rashes. Heat can also increase the risk of injuries in workers as a result of sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, and dizziness. Burns may also occur as a result of accidental contact with hot surfaces. However, most symptoms that workers experience are fever, confusion, loss of coordination, profuse sweating or oppositely dry skin, throbbing headache, muscle pain, weakness and fatigue.
Construction workers are at risk of heat stress due to many environments we work in, particularly industrial settings. The first step of managing that risk is understanding how it can be prevented.
Engineering controls that can reduce workplace heat stress might include:
Other best practices would be to:
Superintendents should be aware of:
Heat stress on the construction site should not be taken lightly. According to the CDC, more than 600 people in the United States are killed by heat-related illnesses every year. Despite this number, many heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. Be sure to take the above precautions to help you and your co-workers stay safe this summer.
Seasonal Allergies and the Construction Environment
The Importance of Reporting a Near Miss