Every year, the summer heat hits us.
The heat and sun make for beautiful days but can bring with it a set of health hazards. Summer safety can make all the difference.
As climate change shifts our seasons, the heat of summer is known to continue into September. No matter what month it is, it is important to be aware of heat and sun safety to ensure you get home safe every day.
Summertime workers like you are outside in the heat all day long and are at risk for heat-related medical illnesses. Heat and summer safety continue to be important as August brings with it record highs and the blazing sun.
We know you know the basics; drink lots of water, sit in the shade and be aware of the signs of heat stroke. At DOZR we are all about working smarter, not harder. To help you do the same for the hot weather, we have some tips and tricks to keep construction workers and summer labourers cool all summer long.
7 Ways To Practice Summer Safety On Site
A five minute break can be the safest choice you can make. Find shade. Drink water. Be safe.
Image borrowed from elcosh.
Stalk the Shade
Shade changes as the sun moves across the sky. Take notice of where shade is at certain points of the day and consider adjusting your work routine to align with the shade. Not only can this mix up the day-to-day pattern you may have gotten used to over the spring, but it will help regulate your body temperature naturally.
If you do decide to switch up the order you do things in, be sure to communicate this to everyone on site for safety purposes.
Drink Water Every Day
Chugging water when it’s hot is not enough. Water in your system is like a reservoir: it needs to be constantly fed or else it will dry up. The Big Bottle Co has water bottles that are actually more like water jugs. They hold 1.5L of water to help you stay hydrated all day long.
To avoid heat exhaustion be sure to drink plenty of water on weekends and evenings to keep yourself hydrated 24/7. Feeling like a techie? Hydratespark is a water bottle that connects to your phone and monitors your water intake so you can see how much you’ve actually drank. It glows as a visual reminder to drink water and stay hydrated. You can also try using a reminder on your phone or smartwatch to drink water in the evenings and on weekends.
Reusable water bottles are great for the environment, can reduce the amount of garbage on site and can keep water colder for longer than a plastic bottle.
Request Water On Site
Having water available on site is an important conversation to have. If you don’t have access to potable water, knowing this ahead of time will allow for you to bring extra water or come up with a plan with the site super for how to get water throughout the day.
If you are a site super, then take access to water into consideration when planning your project through the summertime. Take responsibility and communicate a plan to the team before it gets too hot.
Choose Your Clothing Wisely
Sweating alone does not keep you cool. It is the evaporation of the sweat off the skin that helps to regulate temperature. Choosing moisture wicking clothing can help encourage this process.
Summer the season of construction but it’s also the season of heat. It is important to always be aware of staying cool while working in heat.
Keep an Extra Set of Summer Clothes in Your Truck
Both heat exhaustion and heatstroke are risks of summertime (link to other blog). Keeping a change of regular clothes on hand can be helpful if you begin to notice signs of either of these. Being able to change into lighter, clean clothes can be a step to regulate your temperature.
It can also be nice for really hot days if you want to change before driving home.
Wear Sun Protection
Protection from sunburn is important not only for the health benefits but because working with a terrible sunburn is painful. Putting on sunscreen at work before going outside does not allow adequate time for it to soak in. Make sunscreen application a part of your morning routine and apply it before going to work. Since construction workers and labourers often move around, make sure to apply past where your clothing ends. Stopping half way up your arm can leave the upper part exposed while you work.
Make sure to use SPF 30 to achieve the most UV protection you can.
A sun screen like Coppertone Sport is great for workers in the labour industry: sweat-proof to keep you protected all day long with a low-grease formula to ensure that your grip isn’t affected by the lotion.
Image taken from Coppertone website.
Not only can lips be sunburnt but they can also be prone to sun-related illnesses like skin cancer. It is important to remember to protect your lips just like you would the rest of your skin. There are lip chaps that contain SPF to protect your lips from the sun and can provide much needed hydration during the summer months.
Keeping an extra stick in your lunch bag or backpack will help ensure that you always have one on hand and can be a friendly reminder to apply consistently throughout the day.
You can buy a two-pack of lip balm with SPF 30 for less than five dollars on Amazon.
Choose Headgear with a Brim
Since safety protocols limit the ability to wear hats on the job choose headgear with a brim to add shade to your face and neck. Hard Hat covers, like the one from Uline, provide sun and UV protection to help keep you cool.
It is important to stay cool. The warnings are consistent every year because the dangers are the same every year. As outdoor labourers working in the heat and doing labour-intensive jobs in the summer environment, your risks can be higher. Put your health and safety first. Practice summer safety and protecting yourself from the sun to make sure that you get through the entire summer season with a nice tan and no health scares.