Looking out for everyone in the heat of summer
What’s not to love about summer – BBQs, swimming, those long daylight hours, ice creams at the beach… the list goes on. But with the summer sunshine comes a whole new set of health and safety risks for those in the construction industry. But don’t worry, the team at HazardCo has put together a quick refresher of these seasonal risks to help you keep everyone safe on-site this summer.
We all know exposure to the hot summer sun can lead to sunburn and, in the longer term, an increased risk of skin cancer. But what surprises many builders, is that the greatest risk on-site from sun exposure is that it contributes to fatigue.
Potentially the most harmful summer ailment for anyone working on-site, is fatigue. More than just feeling tired, fatigue can impair both physical and mental capability, meaning reactions are slower and concentration poorer. So, working at heights, using power tools, heavy lifting, and other high-risk tasks all take on an extra level of danger when a team member is facing fatigue.
Avoid the effects of sun exposure and fatigue on your site by reducing time outdoors during the hottest period of the day, 10 am-2 pm and making sure there is a shaded area for breaks with plenty of cold water. More frequent breaks may be needed, and both hats and sunscreen should be standard.
Other things to look out for this summer are heat exhaustion and dehydration. Strenuous work in high temperatures can make us sweat, and sweat, and sweat… causing an excessive loss of water and salt from the body. This can produce muscle cramps and lead to heat exhaustion, especially when there is high humidity to deal with too. Working in these conditions also makes us more prone to dehydration, and extreme dehydration can lead to nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps, and fatigue… so again, drink lots of water and avoid too much caffeine, sugar, and alcohol which can all make dehydration worse.
These summer health and safety issues are all great topics to cover in your next toolbox meeting, so remember to keep using the Toolbox Meeting feature on your HazardCo App to capture the discussion points and share these back with anyone who couldn’t be present in person. As always, the team at HazardCo is here to help you maintain a safe site – this time by thinking about some of the different types of hazards which can pose a risk to your crew.