The official start of summer is just around the corner, but we are already feeling the heat here in Michigan. With those scorching 80 and 90-degree days happening more often, it is important to stay safe when working outdoors and take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses.
Safety is our first priority at RBV, and it is our mission to ensure all of our workers are safe and comfortable during the hot summer months. A few important things to keep in mind when working in the heat are:
Make sure there is cool drinking water in the work area and remember to drink small amounts of water often. A good rule of thumb is to sip water about every 15 minutes, and not wait until you feel thirsty to drink water. Make sure to avoid alcohol or caffeine before working in the hot conditions, as these both advance dehydration in the body.
Bring sunscreen with you and remember to reapply throughout the day. Working with a sunburn can be extremely painful and make it difficult to get your job done. Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays is also an important long-term health investment.
Put your shades on
Just as people protect their skin from the sun, it is important to not forget about your eyes – even when it is overcast. As part of our safety program at RBV, we provide all team members with both clear and tinted safety glasses at no charge. The tinted safety glasses function as sunglasses and help reduce any glare that could potentially be a hazard when working with heavy machinery.
Dress for the weather
At RBV, we provide our workers with moisture wicking shirts, as this type of material is best for hot weather. Remember to wear clothing that is light-colored and loose-fitting. Some workers prefer to wear long sleeves, to protect their skin from injury, so it is important to also wear lightweight clothing. Tight or heavy clothing will increase the risk of overheating and create a need for more frequent breaks.
Seek the shade
While we know it is not always possible, attempt to seek the shade when you are able to. Make sure to schedule breaks for yourself in cool or air-conditioned areas to ensure you do not get overheated.
Understand the signs of heat-related illnesses
When working in a group, be sure to keep an eye on your co-workers. If you see someone who may be experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion or a heat stroke, speak up. Signs of heat exhaustion are weakness and wet skin, headache, dizziness or fainting, and nausea or vomiting. Signs of a heat stroke, which is much more serious, are confusion or fainting, dry and hot skin, and convulsions or seizures. A heat stroke can be deadly so it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Working outside is a perk for many in the construction field, but it is important to remember the above tips in order to stay safe and healthy during the summer months. While working in hot weather requires thoughtful planning, our team is prepared and excited about all of the great projects we are working on this summer.