How To Stay Safe in Extreme Heat
Construction is highly labor-intensive, and nothing gets done without our highly skilled and dedicated workforce. While standards tend to treat everyone equally, construction workers are not equally affected by heat those with certain health conditions or circumstances are more susceptible to heat illness. Thus, requirements designed for the least affected workers might not be sufficient to protect those at higher risk. One size does not fit all.
The ramification is that members need to proactively engage this complexity with flexibility. It comes down to equipping and empowering a crew leader to know the crew on a personal level, check in with them frequently and act with appropriate care. It requires pre-planning and could also include increased rest/water/shade, starting/finishing earlier, and modifying the workflow to perform highest -heat work during the cooler part of the day, especially during times of extreme heat. Final planning at the jobsite should include an open discussion during the daily huddle at the beginning of each shift to ensure each crew member has input on the plan, has buy-in to follow the plan, understands the need to watch out for one another and knows they must communicate any early symptom of heat illness quickly.
ABC has many resources on the subject, including webinars. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Safety Council also have tips for staying safe in extreme heat and during the summer in general.
Check out the resources below for more information.
NSC - Summer Safety: Heat
CDC - Extreme Heat
OSHA - Water, Rest, Shade
Heat Stress: The Science, Politics and Ramifications