Summer 2022 is shaping up to be a hot one. Since the end of spring, temperatures have stayed high. This, combined with seasonal Midwestern humidity, has kept many of us indoors. But, when your office is a construction job site, you need to beat the heat in other ways. Keep reading for five summer strategies that can help you and your crew stay cool.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends employers adjust work schedules when the heat index reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Aim to schedule hot jobs for the cooler part of the day. When you start the work day earlier or work later in the evening, you’ll avoid the midday melt that comes with Ohio summers. If the project schedule allows, it’s best to alternate work days, too.
On the hottest days, encourage your team to take rest breaks throughout the day. You can create an even better rest area with shade to get out of direct sunlight, air conditioning if indoor access is available or a large bucket of cool water for workers to immerse their hands and forearms which helps decrease core temperature.
The CDC recommends those working in hot conditions should drink 1 cup of water every 15-20 minutes. This may sound unnecessary, but if you wait to drink water until you’re thirsty, you’ll be too dehydrated to fully replenish.
Not only should you consider water intake, but also what you eat each day for optimal hydration. When working in the heat, avoid heavy meals and stick with smaller snacks throughout the day. While we don’t recommend a meat-filled lunch, spicy foods, believe it or not, can actually help cool you down.
If you are a team lead, make sure you stock the jobsite with plenty of water and sports drinks. Don’t depend on individuals to pack enough for each day’s work. Plan ahead so everyone stays properly hydrated.
Select attire wisely.
What you wear on the jobsite will make an incredible difference in your comfort level throughout the day. Stick with lightweight, loose-fitting clothing in light colors. Yes, wearing a breathable long-sleeved shirt is more highly recommended than going shirtless, which can increase your risk of heat stroke, sunburns, and injuries on the job. Be sure to cover any unclothed areas with either a hat or sunscreen to protect your skin.
Bring in the best tools
In addition to ice buckets, bring in any extra equipment to make your jobsite experience more comfortable. Things like fans that keep air flowing or spray bottles that instantly refreshes can boost morale and productivity. Speaking of productivity, try to bring in machinery to support the most labor-intensive work.
Look out for your team members.
We all know that construction is an industry of teamwork. And looking out for one another in extreme temperatures is no exception. There are two conditions you should keep an eye out for.
#1 – Heat exhaustion is common as it comes from excessive dehydration. Support your crew mates by reminding everyone to stay hydrated and looking out for signs including:
- Extreme weakness or fatigue
- Rapid, shallow breathing
If you notice these symptoms, try to help your teammate cool down by bringing him or her to a cool, shaded area and encourage them to drink plenty of water. If symptoms don’t improve within 15 minutes, call 911.
#2 – Heat stroke, on the other hand, is a serious medical emergency. So, be on the lookout for symptoms such as:
- Loss of coordination
- Profuse sweating
If you notice these, call 911 right away.
These are just five strategies that will help you and your crew beat the heat in the hottest part of the year. Now, we would love to hear from you. Have a cooling solution for your fellow construction workers? Share your top tips with us on Instagram @ibuildamerica_ohio.