Summer Safety Tips
The summertime can bring several health and safety risks to your team. From dehydration to heat stroke, this can be a critical time. With this being the busiest season for construction, it’s important to protect your people from the heat. For this reason, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has outlined a Heat Illness Prevention Campaign to help employers and employees understand the risks and what they can do to combat them.
It is the responsibility of the employer to take the necessary precautions when on-site and to educate workers on what they can do to stay safe during the summer months. We’ve put together a list of things to consider for a safer summer to protect your frontline.
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5 Tips for a Safer Summer
1. Provide water and shade
It’s no surprise staying hydrated is at the top of our list. Ensure your team has a regular supply of water by providing water bottles or having a cooler or two on-site. This makes it easily accessible and within reach when your team needs it.
Encourage team members to rest in a shady area during breaks, so they can cool off and take a break from the sun. If no shade is found on-site, set up a tarp or a tent to provide workers with shade. It is your responsibility as the employer to provide what is necessary to protect your team from the heat.
2. Consider a flexible schedule and put time in for frequent breaks
Think of peak sun and heat timings throughout the day when planning your schedule. Avoid making employees work outside during the hottest times of the day to avoid health and safety related risks.
One suggestion: implement a schedule where workers start work later in the evening or earlier in the morning. Or schedule break times for when it’s hottest, so workers can go indoors and cool off. Having frequent breaks is important to protect your team from the heat and avoid dehydration or heat exhaustion. It is your job to make taking breaks mandatory to avoid employee injury or illness.
3. Encourage summer attire
Dressing appropriately for the weather is key. Encourage team members to dress in breathable clothing and avoid dark colors. Provide reflective clothing to team members, if possible, to keep them cool as well as neck protection to avoid sunburn.
Don’t forget sunscreen! Make sure to tell your team to apply sunscreen before coming on-site to protect them from the sun’s rays, especially on areas like their face, arms, and neck which are regularly exposed.
4. Implement training
Provide your team with the appropriate training on heat risks and hazards when working outdoors. This is every employer’s responsibility and an absolute must. Educate employees with the appropriate courses and make sure to have regular toolbox talks to ensure this is always top of mind and that everyone is taking the necessary precautions.
The EcoOnline EHS management solution offers several courses within our comprehensive eLearning library. From Heat Stress in Construction Environments to Heat Stress Safety, provide your team with the knowledge needed to stay safe this summer.
5. Stay alert
Keeping each other safe is everyone’s responsibility so make sure to be wary of warning signs. As an employer or supervisor, educate yourself on what early signs of heat stroke or dehydration may be, and stop workers from working if you see any telltale signs. Always stay vigilant and aware of your workers and their body language, as their health and safety are paramount.
Nominate one or more managers to help keep track of all workers and how they are doing. Encourage them to regularly check in with everyone and have an open dialogue if they are feeling tired or hot. Create an environment where workers know their health and safety is valued and they are not afraid to speak up if they are feeling unwell.
How EcoOnline Can Help
The EcoOnline EHS management solution can help you keep your team safe during the summer months. As mentioned earlier, educate your team on heat-related illnesses and risks with our eLearning courses. This solution also helps you gain full transparency into your safety program to easily spots trends and patterns in safety data to mitigate risks quickly.
Want to learn more? Speak to one of our EcoOnline representatives today!