Lately, we have been having some hot temperatures that can make working conditions a little dangerous. Jobs involving high temperatures, such as our concrete company, have a high potential of causing a heat-related illness and our industry has to worry about this more than others.
Why is heat a hazard to workers?
When a person is working in hot temperatures, their body needs to find a way to get rid of the excess heat to maintain a stable internal heat. The main way our body does this is through sweating. While pouring concrete can be long and physical workday, if one doesn’t take care of themselves in the heat. An individual may become light headed and lose focus on the job, which isn’t only dangerous to you but also to the others on the site. If your body cannot get rid of the excess heat, it stores it up, which causes the core temperature to rise. When this happens one may become irritable or sick, and often loose the desire to drink. Often, this can result in one to faint or possibly even die due to over exhaustion and dehydration.
Excessive exposure to high temperatures can cause a range of heat-related illnesses, from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and one should seek immediate medical attention.
How do I know if it’s too hot?
If the temperatures start to rise and the humidity increases, one should start preparing for the heat and watch your intake of water to re-hydrate. During the middle of the day the sun gets stronger and it can cause your body temperature to rise due to direct sunlight and the sun being hotter. When you start to feel exhausted and light headed due to the heat, start taking more breaks and make sure you keep on drinking water.
The heat index, which takes both temperature and humidity into consideration, is a useful tool for outdoor workers and employers to help plan for the extreme heat temperatures.
Can heat-related illnesses be prevented?
Yes, they all can be prevented. Some important ways are to reduce exposure to the sun, but sometimes going to sit in the shade or air conditioning for a while isn’t an option, especially while pouring concrete on a construction site. While on the job make sure water is available and drink it often. Staying hydrated is a major way to prevent heat-related illnesses. Also, have a work/rest cycle where you have rest time to drink water and try to cool down. Having fans around a job could also be a good idea, it provides cooling for the workers as well as good air circulation.
Heat-related illnesses can be a scary thing when not treated properly. Make sure you are taking care of yourself in hot temperatures. Drinking water and taking breaks are a necessity during hot temperatures and its needed to stay healthy to have the best work possible.