Construction business
Construction business
5 Summer Survival Tips to Ensure Worker Safety

East Tennessee’s hottest days of the year are right around the corner. In the commercial construction business, that means increased heat stress. As temperatures rise and humidity increases, working professionals at Leon Williams Contractors and other general contractors are exposed to increased heat stress. Without the proper precautions, heat stress can lead to adverse health effects. Here are 5 essential tips for general contractors to ensure worker safety in the summer heat:

1. Educate your workers

Heat stress can lead to serious health consequences and even death. Fortunately, heat-related illness is preventable. The best way to prevent and treat heat-related illnesses is to train and educate your workers on the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion. According to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), signs of heat exhaustion include: dizziness, weakness, confusion, fainting, and nausea. If a worker shows any of these symptoms, dial 911 for immediate medical attention.

2. Drink plenty of fluids

Dehydration causes disorientation and confusion, both very dangerous conditions in the commercial construction business. To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water. For a commercial construction worker in a moderately hot working condition, OSHA recommends drinking one pint of water per hour. It’s also important to drink water before becoming thirsty and continuously throughout the day.

3. Dress for the heat

Workers who wear impermeable personal protective equipment (PPE) have an increased risk of heat stress. Impermeable materials trap heat close to the body and raise the body’s core temperature. Whenever possible, choose breathable fabrics and equipment. Lightweight, light colored clothing is optimal. Apply sunscreen SPF 15 and above to protect the skin and wear sunglasses to protect the eyes.

4.  Gradually increase workload and heat exposure

Commercial construction workers with no recent exposure to hot workplaces are at a greater risk of heat exhaustion. To prevent this, gradually increase the workload and amount of heat exposure over a five day period. This will give the body time to adjust to the increased heat stress.

5. Rest

To ensure adequate recovery and optimal energy, schedule frequent resting periods in cool environments. Avoid rest places with little or no air movement.  After a rest period, work in pairs to help monitor each other for any possible symptoms of heat-related illness.

Nearly every general contractor is exposed to a hot workplace. Keeping these tips in mind will keep workers safe and productive throughout the summer.

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