Workplace Safety Month: Keeping Your Construction Team Safe

Did you know that June is National Safety Month? Safety is so important for your construction employees that an entire month is dedicated to increasing awareness of the issue.

Working construction in Summer increases the need for additional safety measures. More sunshine, heat, and humidity means you need to take additional precautions to protect your employees.

Implement the following tips to increase safety for your construction employees during hot weather.

Guard Against Heat Exhaustion 

Heat exhaustion is caused by the body becoming overheated to the point where it cannot cool itself down. This can turn into heat stroke if left untreated.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include the following: 

  • Intense sweating 
  • A rapid or weak pulse  
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Cool skin with goosebumps despite the heat 
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Nausea  
  • Headaches  
  • Fatigue, dizziness, or fainting

Protect Against Heat Stroke  

Heat stroke can occur when the body is exposed to excessively high temperatures for an extended time. The body’s natural temperature regulating mechanisms fail, causing a fever and the potential to lose consciousness.

Symptoms of heat stroke include the following: 

  • A core temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher 
  • Change in sweating patterns 
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Headache  
  • Red skin 
  • Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, or delirium  
  • Nausea or vomiting 

If left untreated, heat stroke can lead to muscle, kidney, heart, or brain damage or death.

Monitor Your Employees’ Work Schedule

Try to avoid having your employees work during the hottest hours of the day. For instance, have your employees begin work earlier in the morning, before the sun has had time to increase the temperature. This can reduce the time spent working outside during the midday heat. Also, if parts of the job require indoor work, consider having your employees work inside during the hottest hours and outside when the temperature is less extreme.

Provide Regular Breaks

Ensure your employees take frequent breaks. Continuous engagement in demanding work increases the odds of your employees becoming injured or ill. This is why they need additional breaks as the day gets hotter.

Remind your employees to sit down in the shade during breaks. If there are no trees or other natural sources of shade, you may need to put up tents, awnings, or other items to create shade.

Provide Water 

Remind your employees to drink lots of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated in the heat is vital for your employees’ health.

You may want to make available large coolers packed with ice and water. Also, ensure your employees are drinking water at least once every 15 minutes throughout the day. This applies even when employees don’t feel thirsty. Regular hydration promotes proper sweating to regulate the body’s core temperature.

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Post-COVID Safety Tips for Tradesmen

Have you considered your safety procedures for getting back to work? Now that more projects are restarting, tradesmen around the country are returning to worksites. Getting back to work is great but maintaining the proper safety policies is imperative in order to keep your business running and your team healthy. Here are a few safety tips for the worksite.

Stay home if you’re sick

Not coming to work due to illness may be a foreign concept to some, but never has it been more important than now. Make sure your fellow tradesmen on the job understand that it’s not a question, but a directive, as they have has the potential to infect the whole crew. Because people may be hesitant to use their leave, remind them of policies established by the government providing time off for COVID as well as any company-specific time off policies.

Start each shift by screening temperatures.

The first thing your workers should do when arriving on-site is to have their contactless temperature recorded. Establish a maximum temperature and turn away anyone who doesn’t fall under the maximum. With temperature being such a common symptom, you can’t risk an employee bringing their germs around everyone else.

Provide hand sanitizer or handwashing stations

Depending on where you’re working, you may not have access to a full sink, but make sure there is plenty of hand sanitizer and that it is being used. Hang signs with proper procedures and reinforce the necessity to keep surfaces clean.

Decide the necessary PPE.

Your personal protective equipment (PPE) was valuable to you at work long before COVID, but now it serves a dual purpose. Make sure your team is following the physical safety guidelines for the site as well as keeping the proper masks on, especially when social distancing cannot be maintained.

Remind workers about proper respiratory practices

Every sneeze and cough aren’t indications of the virus but can be a contributing factor in spreading the virus. Make sure your team knows to cough and sneeze into their elbows instead of into their hands. While the mask creates a barrier, you don’t want the employee to somehow get germs on their hands and then spread them to surfaces used by others.

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