Summer temperatures are quickly drifting north of what most of us consider comfortable working conditions. And while all of us would rather enjoy summer at the beach (or just in the air conditioning), it’s also the busiest season for construction. This means long days on the jobsite – and for roofing crews, little relief from the sun (or the pressure of tight project schedules).
The Weather Channel is predicting much higher than average temperatures for the West Coast and above average temperatures for much of the South. Many areas will also deal with the added stress of high humidity.
This combination can be a dangerous one for those of us working outside this summer. According to OSHA, 84 heat-related deaths were investigated from 2010 to 2014.
Four heat-related illnesses to be on the lookout for this summer include: heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and the most serious, heat stroke. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has developed a set of tips for employers to help keep workers safe during the summer heat:
- Schedule hot jobs for cooler parts of the day;
- Take plenty of breaks in cool areas and provide workers with cold drinks;
- Use relief workers or assign extra workers for physically demanding jobs; and finally
- Provide heat stress training – it can be as simple as distributing this card, or quickly walking through its key points at the beginning of a shift.
Workers can also take extra precautions by following these suggestions from the CDC:
- Wear light-colored, breathable clothing.
- Schedule heavy work during cooler times of the day;
- Take more breaks during extreme heat and humidity;
- Drink plenty of cool fluids but avoid too much caffeine or sugar;
- To view the full list of heat illness symptoms and safety tips from the CDC, check out its website.
At GenFlex, we take pride in ‘cool roofing’ technologies (like our white TPO), and we’ve engineered advances that make installation faster and easier for crews, such as our newly-improved EZ TPO Peel-and-Stick self-adhesive formula. But it’s impossible to escape long hours in the sun altogether, so it’s important to remember that safety and productivity go hand in hand. Taking time for breaks can avoid unnecessary hazards – and hours lost to heat-related illnesses.