Large parts of the country are experiencing heat waves with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. Many cities are feeling record-breaking heat with little to no reprieve in sight. Dallas, Texas has seen five days in a row of 100+ degree temperatures, and the heat wave is not over. These high temperatures are harmful to outdoor workers, especially construction workers who spend a majority of their day outside.
Whenever an excessive heat advisory is announced, workers need to be aware of potential dangers. According to the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, excessive heat has injured roughly 70,000 outdoor workers between 1992 and 2016. Construction workers are susceptible to harmful heat-related sicknesses, including hyperthermia, heat stroke, and exhaustion. It’s important to remember that heat-related illnesses are accumulative – workers could experience problems several days after spending multiple days out in the sun. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration highlights symptoms and first-aid actions for occupational heat exposure.
Aside from staying hydrated and wearing sunscreen, construction workers have tools at their disposal to ensure production does not slow down due to excessive heat.
Several hard hat providers have made available helmets with small fans built in that can run on batteries. If a fan is not enough, there are hard hat options that provide space for ice packs and accessories that allow for better airflow between workers’ heads and helmets.
Vests are also naturally compatible with cooling technology. Many providers have released vests that have cooling technology built in to them, or at the very least have room to store ice packs that can run along the worker’s torso.
Heat related illnesses include heat stroke, dizziness, cramping, dehydration and can put workers at risk.