Don’t put your employees at risk working in the heat this summer. Take some preventive measures from HB NEXT to avoid a workplace incident on your construction jobsite. Did you know the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has several guidelines for working in the heat, and what to do if there is a heat related incident on your jobsite?
Heat not only can cause heat stroke, it can also cause heat exhaustion and a heat rash or heat stress. It can increase accidents and injuries when working outside due to sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses along with dizziness. These symptoms can increase job injuries. Workers who are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure can be at a greater risk of heat stroke.
Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature. This can cause death or permanent disability. Normally, heat injuries occur when the body hits 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
- High body temperature
- Loss of coordination
- Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
- Throbbing headache
First Aid for Heat Stroke
- Call 911
- If possible, move worker to a cool place
- Remove excess clothing
- Apply cool water to the body
When workers work outside, NIOSH recommends working shorter shifts until the employee is truly acclimated. When employees take time off or go on vacation, upon their return to work, the employee should take extra precaution when working back in the heat. Employees should return fully rested, alert, hydrated and have shorter shifts until they are acclimated back to the hot environment. When working in dangerous areas or elevated areas on a construction site, employees should have a designated buddy to ask how they are doing throughout the day. Taking time to cool down frequently is also recommended and wearing light breathable clothing.
Heat Exhaustion can also occur on a jobsite. It is important workers know the difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Heat Exhaustion Symptoms
- Rapid heart beat
- Heavy sweating
- Extreme weakness or fatigue
- Slightly elevated body temperature
- Fast, shallow breathing
First Aid for Heat Exhaustion
- Lay the person down and elevate the legs and feet slightly
- Remove heavy clothing
- Drink cool water
- Take a cool shower
- Cool the person down by spraying them or a cool water sponge
Protecting your employees during the hot summer months is critical to job safety and employees’ health. The HB NEXT Safety Team is filled with experts to help you on your jobsite with summer heat challenges. Contact HB NEXT today and find ways to solve your heat challenges.