With warmer weather comes specific health challenges for skilled trades professionals. Often, workers are so focused on deadlines and completing work correctly, that they forget to take proper health precautions. Simple changes in your day-to-day routines can significantly better your health and also make you more effective on the jobsite.
Working outside in scorching hot weather is difficult, but doing so without proper nutrition can lead to heat exhaustion and deadly mistakes. Eating fast food can drain your body of proper nutrients needed in order to sustain energy throughout the day. It’s important to pack your lunch full of protein like lean meats, protein bars, almonds and oats. Eating a healthy lunch will help you stay alert and give you more energy to complete your work in a timely, effective manner.
Staying hydrated on the jobsite is one of the easiest things you can do to keep yourself safe. Try filling your reusable water bottle halfway with water and freezing it the night before, so it keeps your water cold throughout the day. Standard hydration rules suggest you should drink one ounce of water for every pound you weigh, so keep those bottles filled up. And remember, fruits such as watermelon are full of water, so pack some of those for your mid-afternoon snack! If you find that your jobsite doesn’t have easily accessible water coolers, report the issue to your supervisor immediately.
The construction industry has the stigma of working non-stop to get the job done, but companies are working to change that message. Breaks are needed, especially during the hot summer months, to avoid costly, deadly mistakes. Your body needs to rest every couple of hours, especially when working out in the elements. It’s imperative that you give your body a break, sit in the shade, and rehydrate. Plan your breaks out throughout the day, so you stick to your hydration and eating schedule.
Update Your Gear
Safety gear is essential on any jobsite, but the winter months can damage gear rapidly. Make sure you’re taking inventory of your summer gear and replace the damaged pieces with new items. You may also want to consider more summer friendly, safety approved gear to stay a bit cooler during those blistering hot days. And don’t forget, sunscreen should be a part of your protection regimen. Not only do sunburns hurt, but they can lead to skin cancer and massively deplete hydration.
Be Aware of Heat Stress
Heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps, and heat rash can negatively impact your health and they are preventable. Unfortunately, hundreds of people die every year from these illnesses. These conditions occur because the body is unable to cool itself properly. Extreme heat is defined as “summertime temperatures that are much hotter and/or humid than average.” The symptoms vary depending on the condition, so familiarize yourself and your coworkers with each condition and the warning signs. With effective education and safety precautions, you can prevent a serious health incident.