With the warm weather upon us in Southeastern North Carolina, it’s crucial to start preparing for the hot summer heat. Wells Brothers strives to keep employees educated and aware of the potential hazards associated with working in extreme temperatures in order to prevent unnecessary injuries and illnesses and promote better workplace morale.
Since construction workers spend many hours working under the blazing rays of the sun, it is important to keep some safety tips and tricks in mind during the rapidly approaching warmer North Carolina months. Below are six safety tips Wells Brothers will implement and reinforce as the summer progresses:
Know the Signs of Heat Distress
Heat Cramps: Muscle spasms and pain in your abdomen, legs or arms are caused by the loss of body salts and fluid during sweating. Cramps may occur during or after working hours. Drink cold water or electrolyte replacements and rest in shady or air-conditioned areas. Seek medical attention if cramps don’t go away.
Heat Exhaustion: Signs you are entering dangerous territory include headache, nausea, dizziness, irritability, thirst, and heavy sweating. Your skin may also be cool and moist to the touch. Lie down in a shady or air-conditioned area and drink plenty of water. If symptoms persist for more than 60 minutes, seek medical attention.
Heat Stroke: This is the most serious heat-related illness. Heat stroke happens when sweating stops and the body is no longer able to regulate its core temperature. Signs include confusion, loss of consciousness, and seizures. Keep an eye out on your co-workers for signs of heat stroke, which include hot skin without sweating, mental confusion, loss of consciousness, and heat cramps. If anyone shows these signs, call 911 right away.In addition to these tips, it is imperative you follow the regulated training set forth by OSHA for your protection.
The No. 1 rule for working in the heat? Stay hydrated! Keep water within easy access at all times. You should drink a glass every 15 minutes. Don’t wait until you are thirsty. Staying hydrated will help to protect you from heat stroke and will provide you with the proper energy you need all day. Stay away from soda and energy drinks, and stick with electrolyte replacement beverages. Make sure that your drinks are always cool, not room temperature.
Applying sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, between 30 and 50 can effectively protect you from the sun’s rays. Experts recommend slathering on a product that offers both UVA and UVB protection. The proper usage of sunscreen includes applying 15 to 30 minutes before going outside and reapplying every two hours.
Wear Weather Appropriate Clothing
Wear breathable, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Cotton clothing can be soaked in water to aid the cooling process. A sun-brimmed hat and sunglasses can also protect against harmful UV rays. These materials should be in addition to required personal protective equipment (PPE).
Stay away from high-fat, greasy foods. Eat a light meal during the hottest hours, as heavier food will weigh you down and zap your energy. You will want to be able to be alert in the afternoon, and having a light lunch will minimize the fatigue.
Aim for eight hours every night, as REM is harder to achieve during hot weather. Sleep in a cool, dark room in order to prevent drowsiness and accidents.