May 29 is National Heat Awareness Day in the United States. Created by the National Weather Service, this holiday was created to encourage employers and workers to recognize the warning signs of heat illness and keep workers safe. Throughout the summer months every year, there are thousands of illnesses and many deaths of workers due to extreme heat or humid conditions. Today, we’re looking at what you can do to keep yourself safe when you’re outside on the jobsite during the summer months.
There are three main ways to protect yourself from head related illnesses: water, rest, and shade.
Water – Keep yourself hydrated. When you are working hard and sweating a lot, you can lose as much as 2.6 gallons (10 liters) of water per day. Compare that to your water intake on a hot day. Sweating that much without could lead to you becoming dehydrated, which could land you in the hospital.
Rest – As much as we may all want to rush through our jobs to get them done as quickly as possible, breaks are built into your schedule for a reason. Overexerting yourself and trying to continue working when your body is telling you it needs a moment of rest are only going to hurt you in the long run. Be sure to take your scheduled breaks, and if you’re leading a team make sure that the workers you’re in charge of do the same.
Shade – As much as the actual physical labor of working on a jobsite can affect you, a huge portion of what makes summer so difficult is the heat from the sun. With the sun rising earlier and setting later, there is much more time to be exposed to high temperatures and potentially dangerous UV rays. As much as you can, try to find areas that are shady and hidden from the sun. If you can’t, be sure to use hats and other face coverings in order to protect your skin form sunburn and sun poisoning.
Trade professionals face an especially high risk for heat-related illnesses, as many trades require strenuous work and long hours outdoors in the sun. It is important to keep an eye out for signs of dehydration and overheating in both yourself and those around you on the jobsite. Signs of dehydration can include dizziness, rapid heartbeat and breathing, confusion, and fainting. Signs of heat exhaustion can include fatigue, nausea, headache, muscle aches or cramps, and drenching sweats. Be sure to watch out for these symptoms, and know what to do if you see them.
If you’re looking for solutions to help you beat the heat this summer, be sure to check out Klein Tools’ new line of limited-edition cooling gear, designed to you keep safe and cool as the temperatures rise. Post a photo on social media with the hashtag #newkleins to show us your gear!