How Construction Companies Deal with the Summer Weather
Summer is here and despite it making for great trips to the beach and BBQ dinners, the hot weather can cause serious concerns for those working in construction. And although there are tools that can help make your project easier and faster, there are precautions you need to take in the hot weather!
However, because many of the dangers are not immediately obvious, many people do not take the time to understand the risks. So, to make it nice and easy we have written a list of how best to deal with the hot weather when working in construction because heat exhaustion is serious and can result in construction-related-illnesses. By taking a few simple precautions, you can help keep yourself and others safe.
How Heat Delays Construction Work
The summer sun can delay construction work for a number of practical reasons, including the following:
– Intense heat can affect the strength of concrete – requiring more water to be added.
– Paint applied in the heat can blister, wrinkle, or crack.
– Bricks can become too dry in the hot weather.
– Hot weather can also bring dust and air-bourne dirt which can enter equipment filters, causing problems.
If the summer weather can make the above happen, just imagine what it can do to your body while you’re working outside all day.
What are the Risks?
There are many risks construction workers have to face when working outside in the heat for long periods. The most common and significant risk is that of dehydration and exhaustion. Both of these factors are incredibly risky for people working on construction sites as they can cause lethargy, weakness, and low concentration levels, often leading to accidents on site and posing a risk to other workers and even members of the public! So, it’s incredibly important to prevent heat-related illness and symptoms for the safety of everyone.
Hydrate like Crazy
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. The body uses up water faster in hot weather, so hydration is extremely important. What’s more, dehydration is a severe risk during the summer for construction workers and can significantly impact your work. If you’re working outside in the heat, you should be drinking water every 15-20 minutes. Water should be your main source of hydration, but other fluids such as sport drinks and coconut water are also good ways to stay hydrated.
Start and Finish Earlier
If you want to beat the heat and you have the option to, starting work earlier in the day when the air temperature is cooler can definitely help. The earlier you start, the earlier you can finish the better of you’ll be avoiding the sun. What’s more, there’s the added benefit of enjoying an earlier finish and more time in the evening to spend time with family or socialise with friends.
Take Short, Regular Breaks
Taking regular breaks from the heat of the sun is important to avoid dehydration, headaches, dizziness, and heat-related illnesses. If you’re beginning to tire or you feel overheated, aim to take a 5-minute break in the shade. This also provides you with the chance of rehydrating, if you haven’t already done so.
Protect Yourself with Sunscreen
It goes without saying that when you’re working outdoors you should be wearing sunscreen. Protecting your skin with sunscreen is a huge help when you’re working outside and ensures you don’t suffer with painful sunburn.
Provide Areas of Shade
One of the most important considerations to make during the summer months is the provision of shade for construction workers. Wherever possible, prioritise creating shaded areas. Whether you use canopies or umbrellas or the shady provision of a tree, taking advantage of the shade during hot summer weather is extremely important to ensure there is protection from the elements available to those who need it.
Wear Lighter Clothing
When it’s hot outside, the last thing you want to be wearing is heavy, dark clothing that restricts airflow and breathability. During the hot weather, shirts should be lighter in colour and fabric – ideally 100% cotton. Cotton is a light and breathable material that has a cooling effect and will help keep you cool during those hotter working days.
Make Healthy Lunch Choices
When it comes to working in the hot weather it is more important than ever to make healthy food choices. Junk food is high in fats and preservatives and, therefore, adds a calorific load to your digestive system. In high heat, it is best to eat a bigger breakfast that fuels you for the day and then enjoy a lighter, healthier lunch. Fruits and vegetable snacks are great energy-boosters and will help you see through the day, despite the heat.
Keep an Eye on Co-Workers
Be alert for the signs of heat exhaustion and weather-related illness. Your co-workers may start exhibiting signs of lethargy, disorientation, slurred speech, or strange behaviour. This can be dangerous on construction sites as it can cause stumbling, dropping of tools, and dangerous operating of machinery.
As soon as you notice any signs of heat exhaustion or unusual behaviour from other workers, it is essential you intervene before somebody is hurt.
Stay Safe in the Heat
The longer you spend working outside in the hot weather, the more at risk you are of the effects. Stay alert, be careful, and take the necessary precautions needed to ensure your time working on construction sites in the hot weather is as safe and efficient as possible.
We hope you have found the advice in this article useful and we encourage you and your staff to take the necessary precautions on the construction site to ensure everyone’s safety.