Dog Days of Summer

August is the epitome of summer – backyard barbecues, baseball games, swimming pools, and heat.  You don’t need us to tell you it’s hot outside.  Your work can’t stop because of the weather (see Juggling in the Rain for more on this), but you also can’t have your crew getting sick from the heat.  Here are a few tips to keep everyone feeling good.

KNOW THE SIGNS OF HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS – As part of regular training, make sure your crew knows the signs and symptoms to watch out for in themselves and the people around them.  Also, have an emergency plan in place so everyone knows what to do if someone becomes sick with heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  Here are some helpful resources from OSHA and the CDC.

HYDRATION – Make sure there is drinking water available to your crew at all times and remind them the importance of drinking small amounts of water throughout the day.  Consider using water backpacks (like CamelBak) – it makes water always accessible and keeps it from baking in the sun (unless your crew is baking too).

TRADE THE SHADE – If there is work in the sun, workers should regularly trade places with those working in shaded areas.  Taking turns in the shade is safer for your crew and will ensure that all areas are completed.

SUN PROTECTION – Sunscreen is a must to protect exposed skin from sunburn and to lower the risk of melanoma (which causes skin cancer).  A wide-brimmed hat will help to shield workers’ faces and provide some shade.  Also, UV-blocking sunglasses will protect workers’ eyes from damaging rays.

COOLING TRICKS

  • Natural shade from trees is cooler than shade from a building, but anything is better than nothing.  Offer umbrellas or popup canopies if shade is unavailable.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing made of cotton or light-weight, quick-dry fabric.
  • Douse a bandanna or hat in cold water to keep your head and neck cool.

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