As we all know, Ohio in the late summer is hot and humid. Heavy air and bright sunshine sends most of us running to the air conditioning whenever possible. But, when you work in construction, working in the comfort of a temperature-regulated room isn’t always an available luxury. In today’s post, we share our top three tips to keep it cool on the jobsite.
We’re sure this first tip is rather obvious. Of course, keeping a canteen of cold water is key to staying cool on the construction site. But, this goes beyond just having enough water to drink on hand. We recommend drinking water every 15-20 minutes. Yes, it sounds like a lot at first glance, but if you wait to drink water until you’re thirsty, you’ll be too dehydrated to fully replenish.
In addition to taking in adequate water each day, it’s important to avoid dehydrating drinks that include caffeine and alcohol. While caffeine is an energy booster at first, you’ll find yourself exceptionally tired from dehydration after chugging iced coffees and energy drinks in a heatwave. And, while it can be wonderful to enjoy a cold beer at an after-work happy hour, limit your daily alcohol intake. Sure, you won’t notice much of the impact on the day you indulge. But, the day after effects will be quite noticeable.
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 can help cool you down.
Select your 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.
If you’re looking for even more ways to cool down with your clothing, we recommend investing in a cooling vest. This vest helps keep you cool with cold packs stored in the lining. This helpful garment is an extra cost, though. If you prefer a more cost-effective alternative, simply bring a frozen towel with you to the jobsite. Each day, soak a clean towel and store on a plate in your freezer. Bring it to work the next day in your cooler box and wrap it around your neck for ongoing cooling. If that’s a bit too much to think about for your early morning shifts, keep ice on hand and rub over your skin about once every hour. This is just the beginning of extra items to keep on hand to keep your crew cool, which brings us to our third and final tip.
Bring in the best tools
In addition to ice buckets, bring in any extra equipment to make your jobsite experience more comfortable. When possible, bring a fan on site to keep air flowing and a spray bottle to spritz cool water on your body intermittently. The best tool of all? Adjusting your schedule to better shield from sun intensity. If you can start your day earlier or work later in the evening, you’ll avoid the midday melt that comes with Ohio summers.
These are our top three ways of staying cool on the construction site. As always, a day on the job requires supportive teamwork. If you see a teammate showing any signs of heat exhaustion, which include rapid breathing, lack of sweating,and nausea, act immediately. Click here for a complete list of heat stroke signs from the Mayo Clinic.
What are your favorite tips for keeping cool on the jobsite? Share your top tricks with us on Instagram @ibuildamerica_ohio for a chance to be featured!