With record temperatures hitting all parts of the country, it’s important to keep in mind how to keep your crews cool and safe during the hottest months. Here are some things to make sure you’re doing to keep your teams healthy.
Keep them hydrated
Humans can lose almost a gallon of water in sweat in a couple of hours, if the conditions are right. Making hydration a priority makes sure that your crews aren’t running the risk of heat-related illnesses or dehydration. Fill up coolers full of ice and water to bring to the job site. Depending on your crew size, you may need a couple of five-gallon coolers.
Work with your customers to set up earlier work times for your crews. The sooner you begin work, the less time they’ll spend out in the hottest part of the day from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. If you get some push back, remind them that if your crew can work more hours during the day, the project can get done sooner.
The right clothes
The right clothes can make the difference for your teams. Strongly suggest they wear breathable, moisture-wicking long-sleeve shirts and pants. Also, hats with neck protection can go a long way in blocking the sun’s rays. Have rags or towels on hand to dip in ice water. Then use the towels to cool down their heads and neck.
Eating a heavy meal for lunch while on the job is a quick way to feel bad on a hot day. Suggest your workers eat small lunches or snacks throughout the day. Certain fruits and vegetables help against dehydration. Who knew snacking could save a life?
Make sure your people are protecting their skin from the sun. Some might not think applying sunscreen is a big deal, but it can help prevent skin damage and cancer. There are many different types of sunscreen to choose from. Do some research on what’s best for you. For example, spray sunscreen can be more convenient, but it also may need to be applied several times a day.
Your biggest fans
Beat the heat with industrial fans. If you have a good source of electricity, fans can help you cool your crew off during breaks. Fans help sweat evaporate faster and makes the body feel cooler. Fans come in all shapes and sizes, but the more effective ones will create powerful columns of air. Others may come with misting features which can really help beat those heavy summer days.
Keep an eye on the heat index
Checking the temperatures for the day is pretty normal, but you should be checking the heat index for the day before you begin. A heat index is what temperature it actually feels like outside when taking into account heat and humidity. Some weather services will refer to the heat index as the “feels like” temperature. If the heat index is much higher than the standard temperature, it more than likely means there’s a lot of moisture in the air. The more humid it is outside, the harder it is for the human body to regulate its temperature through sweat. If this is the case, you’ll definitely need to think about how to keep your crews cool throughout the workday.
Know the warning signs
It’s important to recognize the warning signs of any heat-related illnesses. Here’s a few things to look out for:
Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
Fast, strong pulse
Cold, pale, clammy skin
Fast, weak pulse
Tiredness or weakness
Red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin.
Muscle pain or spasms
For each illness, cool the person down immediately and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen. Find more information on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.