Keeping Workers Safe During Summer Heat

This year, heatwaves caused the deaths of over 100 people in Oregon and smashed records across the USA, even in more temperate areas. With temperatures soaring, workers on jobsites are more prone to exhaustion, heatstroke and other illnesses caused by heat and dehydration.

Taking care of your crew onsite will take a little doing, but it’s better to keep them safe than to lose workers to heat-related illness. There are many things that can be done to alleviate the risk for workers:

  • Provide hydration with electrolyte packs and onsite sources of clean, cold water.
  • Schedule outside work for mornings and evenings when the temperatures are cooler.
  • Have an indoor space or a pop-up tent to provide shade.
  • Allow team members to rest more often to prevent exhaustion.
  • Encourage workers to wear light-colored clothing, hats and plenty of sunscreen.
  • Workers must check up on each other regularly, especially operators who work alone for most of the day.

OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention program makes it simple: “Water, Rest, Shade.” They encourage workers to check on each other regularly and to report any symptoms such as:

  • Headache or nausea
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Heavy sweating and hot, dry skin
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output

If a worker is experiencing heat-related symptoms, make sure they move to the shade and remove any non-essential clothing. Cool down with water or ice and hydrate. If necessary, seek medical assistance.

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