Workplace Safety: Protecting Construction Workers from Heat

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Purpose:  To learn how to prevent heat stroke on construction sites.

Highlights:

  • What happens to your body when it is overheated?
  • How can you tell that your body is overheated?
  • How do you prevent heat stroke?

Extreme heat in construction is a major concern.

It doesn't just affect workers in the summer, either.  Working in boiler rooms, ceramic plants, distribution warehouses and a number of other environments can be high heat, even in the dead of winter.

Why should I worry about heat?

When a person is in a hot environment, your body needs to rid itself of the heat to return to a normal temperature.  Circulating blood to the skin and sweating remove the excess heat from the body.

If your body is not having fluids replenished with electrolytes, you run the risk of the heat remaining in your body.  Your core temperature will rise and the heart rate will increase.  

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What are the symptoms of overheating?

When a person overheats, they get several symptoms.

  • Loss of concentration
  • Irritable
  • Sick
  • Loss of thirst
  • Fainting

How can I prevent overheating?

You can prevent overheating, even when you are working in a hot environment.

  • Companies should make sure that air conditioning and ventilation are adequate.
  • Employers need to provide work/rest cycles.
  • Drink water often.
  • Slowly allow workers to adapt to the heat with longer rest cycles at first.


 

Conclusion

Overheating is a very serious medical issue.  It is a common threat for construction workers and maintenance technicians who often work in hot environments.  Be vigilant in protecting yourself and others from heat stroke and other heat-related issues.   

 

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