Underestimating the heat, especially during an Arizona summer, can have dire consequences. Each year, thousands of workers are sent to local emergency rooms because of heat-related illnesses.
Educating workers on the dangers associated with working in the desert heat is an investment that will pay back repeatedly in fewer injuries and illnesses, better morale, and more.
Here are just six summer safety tips for construction workers.
Know the Signs
Heat Cramps: Muscle spasms and pain in your abdomen, legs or arms are caused by the loss of body salts and fluid during sweating. Cramps may occur during or after working hours. Drink cold water or electrolyte replacements and rest in shady or air-conditioned areas. Seek medical attention if cramps don’t go away.
Heat Exhaustion: Signs you are entering dangerous territory include headache, nausea, dizziness, irritability, thirst, and heavy sweating. Your skin may also be cool and moist to the touch. Lie down in a shady or air-conditioned area and drink plenty of water. If symptoms persist for more than 60 minutes, seek medical attention.
Heat Stroke: This is the most serious heat-related illness. Heat stroke happens when sweating stops and the body is no longer able to regulate its core temperature. Signs include confusion, loss of consciousness, and seizures. This is a medical emergency requiring urgent response; call 911 immediately.
The No. 1 rule for working in the heat? Stay hydrated! Drink one cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes to prevent ever becoming thirsty. Being thirsty is one of the first symptoms of dehydration. Keep your H2O ice cold for up to 24 hours – even when temperatures are more than 100 degrees – with a refillable insulated water bottle.
Applying sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, between 30 and 50 can effectively protect you from the sun’s rays. Experts recommend slathering on a product that offers both UVA and UVB protection. The proper usage of sunscreen includes applying 15 to 30 minutes before going outside and reapplying every two hours.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Wear breathable, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Cotton clothing can be soaked in water to aid the cooling process. A sun-brimmed hat and sunglasses can also protect against harmful UV rays. These materials should be in addition to required personal protective equipment (PPE).
Limit heat exposure by implementing a work/rest schedule. During breaks, rest in cool, shaded areas and drink lots of liquids. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages as these can cause dehydration. If possible, schedule site prep, excavation and other heavy construction projects when the heat index is lowest.
MAAS Industries, LLC. is proud to provide general civil construction services to builders, developers, individuals, and government agencies throughout the Phoenix Metropolitan area. We are dedicated to delivering the highest quality solutions to our clients by means of state-of-the-art equipment and experienced operators. Contact us today at (602) 531-7280 to learn more about the services we offer.