Today, we are talking about the importance of creating a jobsite rest station for your crew during the coming hot summer months. Heat illness affects thousands of indoor and outdoor workers each year and can tragically lead to death. The CDC states that summer heat is increasing and will become more frequent and intense in the coming decades. According to the CDC, extreme heat illnesses cause a shocking 700 deaths per year, 67,500 ER visits and 9,235 hospital stays (CDC). When you’re hot or cold your body goes through a process called thermoregulation. The process in which your body will sweat if it’s too hot, or shiver when too cold. This is your body’s way of trying to self regulate it’s internal temperature. When the internal temperature of you body is too hot or too cold it goes into hypothermia. When it’s been too hot for 30 minutes of less studies have showed 100% survival rate. Conversely if it’s prolonged beyond 30 minutes and the body can not be cooled down you will go into prolonged hypothermia which is when life threatening heat-related illnesses start to occur.
Extreme heat is often one of the most commonly over looked safety measures, yet it’s so unbelievably easy to prevent! Let’s work towards not being part of those national statistics. Do your research, learn the warning signs and train your crew. We’ll help by diving into more heat caused illness prevention tips, tricks, and helpful products.
Simply put, just remember these three words:
WATER. REST. SHADE.
4 Quick Glance: Key Cooling Tips this summer:
– Hydration tops the list. Keep your body hydrated so it doesn’t dehydrate as you sweat. Sweating is the body’s natural reaction to overheating, without water your body can’t produce sweat to cool off.
– Acclimate your body to the heat. Coming out of Winter here in Minnesota, your now acclimated and used to frigid cold temps. Don’t shock your body with a full 10hr day in extreme heat. Being we are acclimated to the cold temperatures our bodies actually now have to work harder to cool it self down. Acclimation is the process to reteach your body how to self cool properly. In short, take time to acclimate your body and your body will thank you. Although everyone is at risk for heat illness if not properly acclimated, crew members who are new to outdoor jobs are generally most at risk. For example, Cal/OSHA investigated 25 incidents of heat-related illness in 2005. In almost half of the cases, the worker involved was on their first day of work and in 80% of the cases the worker involved had only been on the job for four or fewer days. That’s why it’s important to gradually increase the workload or allow more frequent breaks to help new workers and those returning to a job after time away build up a tolerance for hot conditions. Make sure that workers understand the risks and are “acclimatized”. (OSHA)
– Work/Rest ratio. This varies by age and is the most overlooked, yet equally important to help your body be able to self regulate temperatures and cooling.
– Cooling your body – often overlooked this is also easily done with many innovative & affordable products. Sometimes Summer heat is so extreme we need to give our bodies a little extra help, these products will help cool your body temp in these situations.
☀️Jobsite Rest Station Essentials: Extra protection from the sun & heat☀️
Now, let’s dive deeper into a successful jobsite rest station. Keeping your crew safe from extreme heat illnesses is easy with these tips implemented.
Hiding from the Sun
This brings me to the second biggest tip today, coming in close after hydration is shade. Shade accessibility is essential in keeping your crew healthy and productive. An outdoor jobsite rest station provides a cooler place to rest, out of the suns direct rays and in a place with a lower heat index. One of the biggest reasons why a work station tent is essential; if you keep your crew cool & healthy, they will remain happy and healthy. Don’t loose crew members to heat illness as a result of not preparing or avoiding the cost.
A Shax pop-up tent will provide you with a good footprint to allow more than one crew member to take a break at one time. Additionally, the Shax tent provides other nice features:
- 10′ 12′ & 14′ adjustable height.
- Powder-coated steel frame will withstand the elements and won’t easily bend or rust like aluminum.
- Made with thick, high-quality 300-denier polyester.
- Waterproofing polyurethane coating (PU) and UV treatments.
- Reinforced corners to withstand your tough jobsite conditions.
- A double-vented top for maximum airflow therefore keeping the space as cool as possible.
- Hi-vis lime and silver coatings provide increased visibility on job sites or at events.
- Sizes Available: 10’x10′ & 10’x20′.
Shade is not considered adequate when the level of heat in the shaded area doesn’t allow the worker to cool down. So, to help we have two tips to help you keep the inside of the tent cooler resulting in a cooler crew and on the jobsite more days out of the year. First adding side walls will block the sun from heating up the air beneath the shaded tent. Second, is implementing a mist system. These can decrease the ambient air temperature by 30 degrees and do not require running water.
Summer Scheduling Adjustments
Come the dog days of July and August when the heat and humidity levels are through the roof you’ll need to adjust your workers scheduling. Look at the forecast and adjust to allow time for your crew to go cool off in air conditioning. Another option is to adopt a smart scheduling system to avoid working during the high heat hours which are typically 11am-3pm. Heat Stress Safety should be taken very seriously, you can read more safety tips here in our Heat Safety blog post.
Below is a heat chart from OSHA to help you schedule your crew for work and required rest breaks.
NOAA devised the heat index values for shaded conditions and light winds. Full sunshine can increase heat index values by up to 15° Fahrenheit. Strenuous work and the use of heavy or specialized protective clothing also have an additive effect. As a result, the risk at a specific heat index could be higher than that listed in the table above if the work is in direct sunlight without a light breeze, or if work involves strenuous tasks or the use of heavy or specialized protective clothing. Extra measures, including implementing precautions at the next risk level, are necessary under these circumstances. (NALC:OSHA)
But, let’s not forget some of the smaller things we can do that matter just as much yet are overlooked often.
- Rest spots for your crew. Don’t forget about chairs or a bench. A proper rest station will be complete with a spot for your workers to sit and take a much needed break. A break from the hard work they’re doing in the grueling extreme heat.
- Hydration- Water, Water, Water! Cold is best, to keep the body temp down. A small investment in good water bottles for the health & safety of your crew. Check out our Ergodyne stainless steel water bottle; holds water cold for 24 hours (and hot for 12 for winter months).
- Keeping a lot of water cold. As mentioned above, cold water is essential in helping cool the body’s temp. Keep bottled water cold for your crew longer with this Ergodnyne Jobsite cooler. We have 2 size options: 17 & 48 quart.
- Sun Protection is essential to avoid burns and prevent skin cancer. Protect your skin from the burning sun! Krew’d sunscreen is formulated specifically for the daily grind of a trades worker. There’s no fancy beauty counter fragrances, no greasy feels and yet does it’s job effortlessly protecting your skin from those harmful cancer causing UV Rays and shields the skin from painful sun burns.
In conclusion, a summer jobsite rest station is the best starting point in making sure your crew doesn’t get heat related illnesses this season. Providing shade will keep the heat index down, will help your crew be able to regulate their body temperature with shaded rest, additionally provides the crew with a spot to rest and give a base camp for all the other heat safety stress items.
TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF ERIKA’S FAVORITE SUMMER COOLING PRODUCTS: