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Working outside has its hazards – office workers have to worry about poor posture, but construction workers, project managers, and site superintendents have to battle the elements.
Heat is unavoidable, but not taking the proper precautions to avoid heat-related illness can make you sick for days. Working in cramped machinery, roofs, or roads can be particularly hot.
Here’s a list of tips to beat the heat and stay healthy during long workdays out in the sun.
Drinking plenty of water is a healthy habit on an average day, but when you're working in the above 30˚C weather, it's even more critical. Sweating under the sun or on muggy days dehydrates you quickly – to avoid any light-headedness, dehydration, headaches, or heat stroke, keep water close at hand.
The shade can offer a little break from the sun, so you should take advantage of it when possible. When the sun's rays are beating down, taking your water breaks under a tree, an umbrella, or an awning can give your body a chance to reset. Taking frequent breaks in the summer is essential and hot days aren't the time to skip them.
You can't compromise on personal protection equipment, but your clothes matter, and you need to choose garments that are made for summer. Wearing light clothes with sweat-wicking fabric helps you stay cool when it's muggy and humid. Stay away from black or dark garments. They attract the sun and can make you feel like you're baking throughout the day.
This doesn't necessarily keep you cool, but it protects your skin from sun damage and prevents uncomfortable sunburns that can make you sick and irritated. Preventative sunscreen wear is a good idea even on cloudy days when the sun can still penetrate the clouds. Choose some sweat-proof formula so it stays on the skin.
During the hot days, take note of places you can cool down. Take breaks in your vehicle with the air conditioner running, or take a coffee break inside an air-conditioned space. If air conditioning isn't available, wetting a cold compress and holding it to your pulse points at your wrists and neck can help cool your body. There are also pulse points at your ankles if you want to take off your boots to douse your feet in the water.
Even with all the precautions, sometimes heat-related illnesses are unavoidable. Heat rash, cramps, heatstroke, and heat exhaustion can occur on construction sites and should be taken seriously. Symptoms can come on fast and include headaches, physical illness, and loss of consciousness which are all dangerous on construction sites with heavy equipment.
If you experience heat-related illness, remove yourself from the site and get first aid to treat your symptoms.
Heat is enjoyable off the construction site, but hot days can be a hazard when you're working a physically demanding job. You must monitor yourself and your colleagues for heat illnesses and take frequent breaks.
If you're working inside, Falcon Equipment Rentals has portable fans to help you keep cool in poorly ventilated or lack air conditioning. To prepare for the hot days ahead this summer, contact Falcon Rentals to secure all your equipment – including fans – to stay on schedule and beat the heat.