A heat wave is scorching much of the U.S. this week which means outdoor workers such as construction managers and landscapers are at an increased risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. When working outdoors in the intense sunlight, proper precautions must be taken in order to ensure safety and wellbeing. Being outside during hot summer days, you are exposed to harmful UV rays and heat that can make your body more easily fatigued. Follow the safety tips for working outdoors below.
- Stay hydrated.
- It is best to drink small amounts of water frequently rather than larger amounts infrequently. Take a large water bottle with you and be sure to take the time to hydrated when needed.
- Work during non-peak hours.
- If possible, see if you can work in the early morning or evening when the sun is at its lowest.
- Wear protective clothing.
- Long sleeve shirts and pants are your best bet against harmful rays. Wear loose-fitting clothing to give your skin plenty of room to breathe and a hat to cover your neck and face.
- Apply sunscreen.
- Apply plenty of sunscreen throughout the day—SPF 15 or higher. Try to find waterproof sunscreen, as it may be less prone to coming off your skin as you sweat.
- Take breaks.
- Work takes more energy when your body is exposed to intense heat and light. Find a spot under the shade to rest and take breaks regularly.
- Work strategically.
- Minimize overexertion and do only what is necessary.
- Know the signs of heat illness.
- Warning signs you should be aware of include: headache, lightheadedness, confusion, loss of consciousness, and high body temperature.
- Avoid caffeine and large amounts of sugar.
- Caffeine and sugar may send your blood sugar spiking and what will soon follow is a crash which will only leave you feeling more tired.
If you are a construction worker, landscaper, or other tradesperson, protect your health and wellbeing and be prepared for the hot summer days ahead. Drink plenty of water, rest when you need to, and stop if you start to feel unwell.