The UK is currently enjoying summer temperatures and weather, with sun and heat, and in the construction industry it’s a busy season as summer conditions are often perfect to get the most work done. The rain, snow, and cold weather are not very conducive to working on construction sites but even in the best of weather, however, some dangers still lurk. These tips will help keep summer-related injuries on construction sites at bay.
As temperatures climb with the sun, make sure to stay well hydrated. Although all fluids help, when it comes to hydration, water really is best. Make sure you drink water long before you get to the work site and have a bottle of water nearby for frequent breaks. If you begin to feel light-headed or dizzy, sit down in some shade if possible and drink some water. You cannot get enough hydration when temperatures soar, and water, along with other types of drinks containing electrolytes, will help you stay cool, hydrated and healthy.
Protect Your Skin From Sun Burn
A good sunscreen is important if you’re working in the sun, and is really a necessity when working outside for long periods of time. Make sure you get a sunscreen with a high UVA index and re-apply it frequently especially if your work involves staying in the sun continuously for long periods of time. Make sure to wear protective sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare. Wearing a hat with a brim may help too.
Protect Your Body From Overheating
Wearing clothes in the appropriate fabric and colour help prevent overheating. For those who work in the construction and building industries, lighter colours are a must for outdoor work. Light coloured clothes are better at deflecting heat and will keep you cooler when the temperatures rise. Always wear clothes in natural lightweight fabric such as cotton that wicks away sweat and moisture.
Wearing lightweight, lighter coloured clothing in summer is key to protecting you from heat stroke or heat exhaustion while working all day on a construction site. Although short-sleeves may seem
Take Regular Breaks
Because temperatures can soar unexpectedly during the summer months, more frequent rests and breaks are necessary. Taking regular breaks to get out from the sun, sit in the shade and drink plenty of water helps workers catch their breath and cool down so they can get back to work feeling refreshed and reenergised. This small step helps prevent several different summer related injuries, including dehydration, heat stroke and exhaustion.
If temperatures soar above 37 degrees, it becomes even more important to take breaks more frequently. On very hot days it may be advisable to simply call it a day and continue the next day, early in the morning, when temperatures are more manageable, and everyone can work safely.
If Possible, Reschedule Work For Earlier In the Day
It is often easier for most people who work in the construction, building, or agricultural industries to do a bulk of their work earlier in the morning before the sun reaches its highest peak at noon. Temperatures soar at noon that can create a high risk work environment for all workers who work outdoors. If working at noon is unavoidable, drinking plenty of water, taking frequent breaks and staying protected from the direct sun can help reduce the risk of sun and heat related injuries.
Recognise The Symptoms Of A Heatstroke
A heat stroke can happen suddenly, without any warning, and it is a dangerous situation to be in. Heat stroke results because your body cannot cool itself down quickly enough. Dehydration is the first symptom that you are at risk for a heat stroke. You may also feel dizzy, nauseous and physically ill, and you may start sweating a lot. Headaches are not uncommon with heat stroke.
If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t wait to see if they will pass. Instead drink some water immediately and try to get into a cooler environment, whether this means going into a cool building or sitting for a time in some shade. Drinking any fluid containing electrolytes can help tremendously at this time.
Stay Alert for Slips, Trips, Fall & Fall From Height Accidents
Slip, trip and fall injuries occur year-round, but different seasons have their own distinctive triggers. In the summer, the glare of the sun can result in reduced visibility, increasing the risk of these injuries.
Sunglasses or other shaded and protective eyewear will help keep sun glare down. Be mindful of your surroundings and do not allow yourself to get distracted. If you begin to feel dizzy or light-headed, seek shade and take a water break. This is important regardless of where you are working but more so if you are working atop scaffolding or on the higher floors of a building.
Work boots are heavy, but they will also protect you. The tread on work boots are meant to keep you steady on your feet and help you avoid slipping in water, on ice, or while working on a ladder. Make sure your work boots are clean from any debris such as small pebbles, grease, oil, petrol, or other substances before wearing them on the job.
Summary Of Tips To Prevent Summer-Related Injuries
- Any time you begin to feel ill on a work site, stop work immediately and seek shelter in a cooler environment, whether it is in the shade of a tree or inside a cooler building.
- Drink plenty of fluids, eat lightly, and cool down.
- Begin work early in the morning, either prior to sunrise or just at daybreak, and if temperatures are soaring beyond 37, stop work for the day.
- Wear lightweight fabrics or protective clothing, and don’t forget the sunscreen.
- Be mindful of surroundings and seek shelter any time you feel sick or thirsty.
Have a good summer.