One of the most challenging variables for managing a construction job is the weather.
Construction workers are exposed to the elements, and their jobs and the tools they use may require wearing heavy clothing. Exposure to heat can be especially dangerous for those working outside.
You have an obligation to make sure the project is completed on time, but it is also critical to maintain the safety of your workers.
Here’s what you should know about maintaining a safe construction site during the summer heat.
The keys to coping with heat are rest, water and shade. As the summer in the desert gets hotter, it becomes essential to offer ample opportunities for workers to get relief from extreme heat before it starts to take its toll.
Your workers need to have ample opportunities to rest from their work, and there should be sources for water and shade nearby. In many cases, workers get busy with their work, and do not feel the effects of heat-related illness until it is too late. Encourage workers to take extra breaks to avoid over-exertion.
Often, people do not recognize the symptoms of heat-related illness in themselves but will notice them in other people. Train your workers to watch for signs of illness, such as:
- Heavy sweating
- Tiredness or weakness
Explain to your workers that when they keep each other safe from heat-related illness, they keep themselves safe, as well. When a worker using dangerous equipment becomes severely ill, it can put others on the site in danger. Your workers should know the closest resources to help a co-worker who is sick and whom to call for help.
Layers of support
In addition to having employees support each other, you should also have supervisors at the job site watching for signs of heat-related illness. Illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke can escalate quickly and have severe consequences. OSHA has tools available to help you understand the risks and protective measures for keeping your employees safe in the heat.