Are you about to start a big outdoor project this summer? It’s critical that you protect yourself from heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses and accidents. At Kloos Hauling, our business is extremely active in the summer months. Because of this, we’ve developed a list of our tips for working outside in the heat, to help keep you safe and enjoying your summer.
If you’re working outside in the heat, know the signs of heatstroke
Heat stress can be deadly, but it’s an easy condition to prevent. Drink water when you’re thirsty and try to work in the shade if possible. Some of the signs of heat illness and heatstroke include the following:
- Headaches and dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue and weakness
- Moist skin, or hot and dry skin during the latter stages of the illness
- A rapid, weak pulse
What if someone is suffering from heatstroke?
If a person suffering from heatstroke does not get immediate medical attention, they can develop seizures and convulsions. Untreated heatstroke can also cause irreversible organ damage and death.
If you suspect heatstroke in yourself or a coworker, it’s critical that you move them to a cool, shaded area. Loosen any heavy or hot clothing, drink cool water, and contact 911.
The next time you head outside for a work project, please keep these top tips in mind for summer heat safety when working outside.
When working outside in the heat, wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
Dark colors will trap and retain the sun’s rays. Wearing tight clothes also doesn’t allow for air to circulate and help you cool off. Plus, tight-fitting clothing in the summer is uncomfortable. Before you start working outside, make sure to put on clothes that are light-colored, loose, and made from a light material like cotton, linen, or rayon. Also, don’t underestimate the comfort level of a good quality, breathable fabric. If you work outside frequently, invest in some clothing made from breathable materials.
Plan the work stages of your outdoor project
It’s a good idea for summer heat safety to plan the different phases of your outdoor project around the hottest parts of the day. Save the more rigorous activities for the early morning or late evening hours when it starts to cool down. If possible, head inside where it’s cool to get a break from the sun during the afternoon, the hottest part of the day.
It’s important to protect yourself from the sun, even if you’re only outside working in the heat for a short period of time. Use sun block which an SPF rating of 30. Re-apply frequently – every two hours. Use it liberally – many people only use a ½ or ¼ of the amount an application would take – which is why they still become sunburnt.
For a comprehensive guide on sunscreen SPF rating and what they mean, read this:
Cover yourself and wear a hat
In addition to sunscreen, protect your skin directly by covering it from the sun. Wear a baseball cap or a wide brimmed hat which shades your nose, ears and neck. Put on a light, breathable long sleeve shirt and full pants for the best protection from the sun’s harmful, damaging rays.
When working outside in the heat, stay hydrated
When working outside in the summer heat, always make sure you have quick and easy access to water. Generally, as a rule, take a short break every 30 minutes and consume water. During every hour of physical labor in the heat, consume around 16 fluid ounces or close to 500mL of cool (not cold) water. Some of the signs of dehydration include dizziness, confusion, fatigue, and rapid heartbeat.
At Kloos Hauling & Demolition, we’ve had to complete our fair share of big and small projects out in the summer heat. For homeowners and construction workers alike, it’s critical that you take the necessary precautions to prevent heat stress and heatstroke. The next time you have to work outside during the summer, keep these summer heat safety tips in mind.