Working in the Southern California heat poses a risk if you’re outdoors or inside a building that doesn’t have air conditioning. It’s important to stay aware of your body to notice when you’re experiencing signs of heat exhaustion so that you can stop and let your body cool down. Dizziness, fatigue, confusion, extreme thirst, dark or infrequent urination, headaches and a faster heart rate are symptoms of heat illness.
Wear heat-friendly clothing
Avoid dark colors because they absorb more heat than light colors. You should also choose light clothing that’s made of cotton or linen. The problem with heavy, synthetic clothing is that it traps heat against your skin. Mesh is a good choice for top layers and safety vests because it’s breathable and sweat-wicking. Some shirts have built-in ventilation.
Construction site workers should use hard hat sweatbands, nape protectors and wide-brimmed hard hats. Hard hat sweatbands absorb your sweat and help protect you from heat. You could freeze them for an enhanced cooling effect. Nape protectors block the sun from the back of your neck, which aids in keeping your body cooler. Wide-brimmed hard hats also protect your skin from the sun.
Take frequent breaks
Employers should allow construction workers to take frequent breaks when they’re working in the heat. Rest in a shaded area and drink plenty of water during your break. Adequate hydration reduces your risk of heat-related illnesses. When employers don’t allow enough break time, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation for injuries and illnesses that you experience as a result of the heat.
When you’re starting a project outside, you need to get used to your new working conditions, so take it easier while your body is adjusting to the extreme temperature. Employers should start everyone off easy and gradually increase the intensity by 20% per day.
As a worker, it’s important to understand the safety precautions that your employer should take when you need to work outside during the summer. If you notice something amiss, you can bring it to their attention.