Summer Construction Safety | Chicago Industrial Equipment

Beating the Heat: How to Remain Safe While Working in Construction During the Summertime

Summer is an excellent season for the construction industry, but the heat can quickly get in the way. Construction heat safety should be a priority for construction supervisors and workers. The summer heat can quickly become dangerous, exposing workers to heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. Workers should have access to plenty of resources to keep them cool while working outside in the summer to prevent injuries and illness.

Learn why summer is the best time for construction projects and summer tips for construction workers to keep them safe when exposed to intense heat.

Why Is Summer the Best Time for Projects?

Summer is one of the best times for construction projects. The warm weather makes it easier to keep tasks on schedule since you don’t have to cancel due to freezing temperatures or unfavorable soil conditions. Summer weather also generally only has occasional storms in the evening that leave plenty of time early in the day for work.

Summer also makes it easier for construction companies to find interested workers, as many people are looking for summer work. Companies can hire large teams for their projects, speeding up their turnaround times. The workers they hire may even be interested in becoming full-time staff where there is availability. Other workers, such as those interested in seasonal work, may return in the following summers.

The summer season also allows for faster, more efficient construction work. There is a lot of competition between construction companies in the summer months, so prices will be competitive to ensure they’re picked for specific projects.

10 Summer Safety Tips for Construction Workers

While the summer is a great season filled with plenty of work for construction companies, the heat can become a hazard to construction worker safety if staff isn’t prepared. Workers should follow these construction heat safety tips to protect themselves:

1. Stay Hydrated

Of all the safety measures in construction work, the most important is to keep plenty of water around. While it can be tempting to drink soft drinks or energy drinks to spike your energy levels during a tiring day, these do little for your hydration levels and can make you feel worse if you have too many.

Drinking plenty of water in the sun will help you feel your best and maintain your hydration levels. Construction work during summer is extremely physical, and you’ll need to replenish the fluids you lose while working in the heat.

2. Use Plenty of Sunscreen

The intense rays of the sun can cause unpleasant sunburns. Too much sun exposure can also increase the risk of skin cancer. While you’re working outside, you should apply sunscreen at regular intervals, typically every two hours or so. Higher SPFs will allow your skin to repel the ultraviolet light emitted by the sun.

Using sunscreen can also prevent your body from overheating too quickly, minimizing your risk of heat stress or heat stroke. You can apply your sunscreen during your breaks.

3. Eat Nutritious Foods

Eating a hearty breakfast of low-fat and low-sugar foods can help you get the best start to your day. A nutritious breakfast will give you plenty of energy to get through your daily tasks and ensure you don’t feel tired halfway through your day, which is essential when you’re out in the sun.

You should also eat a lunch low in preservatives and unsaturated fats. Protein- and vitamin-rich foods can help you make it through the end of your day and give you plenty of energy to enjoy your time when you go home.

4. Monitor Your Construction Team

You should monitor your colleagues while working out in the sun. Even if you’re taking care of yourself, others may not be aware of the dangers of the heat. Look for signs of heat stroke in your team — like confusion — and report them to your supervisors. You should also encourage your coworkers to drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen while out in the sun, ensuring they’re protected while working in the heat.

5. Avoid Working Outdoors When the Sun Is the Brightest

During some points in the day, the sun is at its brightest, creating a particularly hot environment. The sun is typically at its strongest between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Especially during those hours, preventing heat exposure for construction workers should be the main priority for supervisors.

When possible, you should avoid working outdoors during these times or work as little as possible. If you still have to work during these hours, take your breaks in the shade and remember to drink water to ensure you don’t succumb to heat stroke.

6. Be Alert for Signs of Heat Illness

Heat stress and heat stroke can be dangerous, especially when left untreated. You should learn the signs of heat illness to identify them in yourselves and others and get help as soon as possible. Some of the symptoms of heat illness include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fast or weak pulse
  • Dizziness or headaches

If you notice these signs, notify your supervisors and contact emergency services immediately.

7. Use Additional Sun Protection

On top of sunscreen, use additional sun protection. For example, you can wear a hat to protect your head from the sun’s rays. You’ll also want to dress to beat the heat, which includes lightweight safety apparel that allows for more breathability.

8. Get Plenty of Sleep

Just like eating a nutritious meal, getting plenty of sleep is just as important when working in the sun. Getting enough rest will ensure your body is as healthy as possible before you start work. You don’t want to battle fatigue while managing intense physical labor.

You’ll get better sleep if you keep your room cooler, which will help you feel prepared for working in the summer. Use curtains to block out light and fans to help cool the room to make it comfortable enough to sleep.

9. Take Consistent Breaks

Taking frequent breaks can keep your body from reaching high temperatures, preventing the onset of heat illness. You should especially take breaks if you have to work during the hottest times of the day.

Your breaks should include seeking shade, drinking water and reapplying sunscreen. Breaks will help you get your body temperature back to normal so you can return to work without worrying about heat illnesses.

10. Avoid Stepping in and out of the AC Frequently

While it can be tempting to be in air-conditioned environments as much as possible during the summer while you work, you shouldn’t do so frequently. Moving between extreme temperatures quickly can make you sick since the body is shocked by the drastic temperature changes and needs time to adjust.

The more often you force your body to change from extreme temperatures, the worse you’ll feel. While relaxing in air conditioning can help you cool down, you shouldn’t bounce back and forth from the heat to the AC too frequently.

Get Construction Machinery With Chicago Industrial Equipment, Inc.

The right construction equipment can help lessen the physical burden on construction workers during the summer, reducing their risk of severe illness and heat stroke. Chicago Industrial Equipment, Inc. offers a wide range of construction equipment, from aerial lifts to forklifts. We provide high-quality equipment at competitive pricing, ensuring you’ll find the right machinery or attachments for your budget.

We offer equipment from various brands, including Caterpillar, Aisle Master, Genie, Toyota and more. Contact us today to learn how our equipment can help you with your construction projects in the summer!