Summer Safety Reminders: Hazards of Hot Weather
As we have reached the hottest time of year, it can be helpful to review ways to reduce heat-related health risks for yourself or your employees.
Safety Director David Klatzkin of Hull Associates shared what his Texas-based framing company does to ensure employees and subcontractors are prepared for working in the heat. At the beginning of summer, David sends out an email to the company’s field employees and subcontractors reminding them about heat safety procedure. In addition, David presents FrameSAFE’s toolbox talk on heat safety. “We go through it with all our subcontractors,” David says. To help ensure the framers remember the information, David also posts FrameSAFE’s poster that addresses safety protocol when working in hot conditions. “I get it laminated and post that at all our jobsites at the first floor access ladders, so when our subs are climbing up they’ll see that every day,” he says.
On hot days, David makes sure employees are provided with enough water, and, even though they typically provide their own, he will provide subcontractors with water where needed as well.
To monitor hot weather, David uses OSHA’s Heat Index and Safety app, which helps users monitor dangerous heat conditions and provides information about how safe it is to work in current conditions. “I use that like hourly,” David says. While monitoring the heat, David will send excessive heat warning emails to employees and subcontractors as necessary.
As another safety precaution, David says that his company encourages employees and subcontractors to find a partner or “buddy” that will allow them to “be responsible for somebody else” and make sure they are not exhibiting any signs of heat-related health effects.
David says that his framers take other sensible precautions as well. “They take a whole lot more breaks than they used to, which is good – longer breaks, longer lunch, start early” – and they leave before the hottest part of the day.
Emulating David’s careful approach to monitoring heat conditions and making sure employees and subcontractors have the knowledge and resources to fight the heat can help reduce injury and illness on your jobsites. Check out the FrameSAFE materials David mentions as well as OSHA’s website for more information you can provide to workers.
A Quick Word about Lightning Safety
Heat is not the only weather-related safety issue to keep an eye on this summer. Lightning can also pose a threat to workers, so make sure they head to safety at the first sign of a storm and remain there until storms have entirely passed. Read OSHA’s FactSheet for more information regarding lightning safety.
Do you have any additional ways you prepare and help protect employees from either heat or lighting hazards over the summer? Let us know!