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STAY COOL — AND SAFE — THIS SUMMER

As temperatures rise, chances are your workload will, too. Summer brings an influx of jobs to the construction industry, and that can mean long hours in the sun, heat and humidity for your team — and your equipment. Here are a few tips to keep both safe during the dog days of summer.

Know the signs of heat illness
Heat-related illness is real, and if it’s not treated quickly, it can result in severe complications or even death. Let your team know you take it seriously — you don’t want anyone acting “tough” and continuing to work through symptoms like:

Keep a close eye on workers who are 65 or older, overweight or on medication — they may be more susceptible to heat problems than others.

Know what to do when you see it
Train your team to recognize the warning signs in themselves and others. Victims of heat exhaustion or heat stroke aren’t always aware of what’s happening to their bodies, so urge your workers to watch for anyone exhibiting symptoms, alert a supervisor and call 911 if necessary. It’s also a good idea to move any affected individuals to a shady or air-conditioned area, lay them down and elevate their feet, remove any tight or heavy clothing and give them water to drink. You can also help cool them down using a fan or a spray mist.

Know how to prevent it
The three most important ways to ward off heat problems on the construction site are water, rest and shade. Keep your jobsite well-stocked with water and encourage everyone to drink at least eight ounces an hour. Schedule plenty of breaks — extra on very hot days — and make them mandatory. And provide shade in the form of tents or awnings, especially if your site doesn’t have trees or buildings that offer natural relief from the sun.

Other steps you and your workers can take to stay safe in the summer heat include:

Your machines need attention, too
Keeping your workers safe in the heat and humidity is the top priority. But rising temperatures also cause machines to work harder, which stresses components and accelerates wear. Take these steps to protect your fleet:

Staying safe in the heat is all about awareness, so schedule some time for a “summer safety” training session before the hottest days of the year strike. If your entire team puts these common-sense tips to work, you’ll be ready for a healthy, productive season on the job.