With the onset of spring on the horizon, talk about summer is soon to take flight. Despite how glorious summer can be after long winters, it can be extremely dangerous to construction workers.
Summer construction is sometimes seen by people outside the construction industry as ideal conditions. But the number of heat-related injuries in the construction world due to conditions such as heat stress and heat stroke cannot be ignored. It has been noted that conditions get dangerous when the temperatures reach 91 degrees or more. When you consider how many 90 plus degree days the North Eastern states have in July and August, you can begin to appreciate the scope of the problem.
Signs Of Summer Heat Issues
Summer weather issues for construction workers consist of more than just the high temperatures. The glaring sun can potentially give workers skin cancer, and high humidity can increase the likelihood of heat-related injuries.
Since many construction workers have to wear protective clothing, the rising temperature and humidity can be a deadly combination. Workers also need to consider the fact that their equipment generates heat, and that only compounds the problem.
Five Problems Caused By The Heat
A number of problems can arise due to the heat that construction workers are exposed to. Below are some of problems to be on the look out and take precautions for before things get dire.
1. Heat Stroke
Heat stroke occurs when the heat pushes the body to the point where the heart is unable to keep up with the demands of the internal organs. Heat stroke often gives signs that cannot be ignored, because heat stroke often strikes quickly if it is not attended. One of the final symptoms of heat stroke is dizziness, but other symptoms such as shortness of breath occur earlier in the process and should act as a warning that something is wrong.
To help prevent heat stroke, workers need to wear loose clothing and stop at least once or twice an hour to rest and drink cold water. One of the ironies of heat stroke is that too much cold water ingested too quickly can also cause problems. When it comes to heat stroke, moderation and watching out for your fellow workers are important.
2. Heat Exhaustion
When you do not keep yourself hydrated and keep your sodium levels right, then you may suffer from heat exhaustion. The combination of low hydration and lack of sodium is what prompted the creation of the sports drinks that are so popular today.
The symptoms of heat exhaustion are a bit more evident and they include shortness of breath, excessive sweating, disorientation, and vomiting. It is important to get someone suffering from heat exhaustion to a shaded, cool area and provide them with hydration. This is where sports drinks can be convenient and essential for construction workers.
If you work too long in the sun or try to stand too quickly after being out in the sun, then you may faint. This condition is complicated by the dangers that can occur when a construction worker randomly collapses on a construction work-site with plenty of dangerous materials and tools lying around. If someone faints, sit them in a cool place and get them water until they feel better.
Cramps occur in any activity that takes place in the heat, and heat cramps can be extremely painful. If you start to feel muscle spasms in your outer extremities, then you may be on the way to getting heat cramps.
It is important to get to a cool area, and consume a lot of liquids in order to recover. Heat cramps do not give up easily, and you may have to take the rest of the day off to recover properly.
A heat rash can be extremely painful, and last for a long time. Heat rashes occur when the sweaty skin is exposed to
heat for too long. It can occur anywhere on the body, but it is most prominent in areas such as the groin or the elbows. You can use powders and towels to try to prevent heat rash, and you should get out of the sun as often as you can to not give heat rash a chance to start.
Construction workers are just as exposed to danger in the summer as they are the colder months. A construction worker needs to take extra care of themselves and be aware of the signs of heat issues in other workers as well and take the danger out of summer working.