Working long hours out in high temperatures can cause the body’s internal temperature to rise, resulting in discomfort, fatigue, and in worse cases severe heat stress or stroke. According to the CDC, extreme heat causes an average of 658 deaths a year in the United States.
Here are the top three tips to help stay safe while working in hot weather, according to OSHA:
1. Stay hydrated
Hydration is vital in beating the heat. When your body doesn’t have enough water, it has nothing to sweat out - or no way of cooling down. Set up water stations on your worksite and remind workers they should be taking water breaks throughout the day and after work.
2. Take a rest
Prevent heat-related incidents by taking rest when needed. OSHA states that “work/rest schedules are often based on 1-hour cycles and might call for a rest period of 15 minutes every hour during hot weather, but 45 minutes per hour when temperature and humidity are extreme”.
Keep in mind that each work site can vary greatly. Have your specific rest zones, times, and guidelines set up so workers know exactly when and where to take a break.
3. Find shade
If workers are working outside, try to place your workstations in shady areas. If there is no shade in the work area, then inform your workers of where they can find natural shade or set-up tents that workers can use during their rest periods.
Helpful preventative measures
To help support these tips, here's a list of preventative measures to put into practice at your worksite:
- Remind workers to drink small amounts of water often, even before they're thirsty
- Make sure that adequate medical services or someone trained in First Aid are near and available in case of emergency
- Alert workers to the heat index anticipated for the day and the precautions in place to help avoid heat-related illness
- Set up a buddy system to encourage workers to be on the lookout for signs or symptoms of heat-related illness in each other
- Encourage workers to wear sunscreen and use protection from direct sunlight
- Consider wearing PPE with cooling properties
Don't forget proper PPE and clothing
Donning proper clothing and PPE for the climate is often ignored - but this simple change can have a major impact on the number of heat-related incidents and how workers perform. Supply your employees with comfortable, lightweight clothing and gloves to help increase work productivity while lowering discomfort and moral issues.
PPE with cooling attributes, like proper ventilation or evaporative qualities, can help lower body temperature which reduces the likelihood of a heat-related illness.
Get protection against the heat with HexArmor®
Heat exposure can often be overlooked due to the more fatal or ‘seen’ hazards found on construction sites, but these tips can go a long way in preventing heat stress.
Here are some of the most popular HexArmor® products we recommend for work in the heat:
- Chrome Oasis® 4030 – Advanced HexVent® technology for a breathable heat release system
- Chrome SLT® line 4070, 4071, 4072 – All lined with HPPE, these gloves cover multiple applications, all while keeping hands cooler, longer when under the sun
- Rig Lizard® Thin Lizzie™ 2090X – Knit includes HPPE shell to keep hands cool, while sandy nitrile palm and back-of-hand impact offers superior protective qualities
- Helix® 2076 – Knit includes HPPE to keep hands cool; palm coating has touchscreen capabilities
- HexShade®UV by SnapBrim®– Innovative and comfortable safety helmet attachment for extra UV protection on the job
Below are some additional learning resources:
- Not all UV lenses are created equal
- Best safety eyewear options for indoor/outdoor work environments
- Choosing warm weather work gloves
Need help? Talk to a solution specialist regarding your specific needs – contact us at 1-877-MY ARMOR or send us a message.