Summer’s a busy time in the construction business. Before the hot season begins, conduct heat safety training with your team, focusing on topics such as these:
Educate all on the complications that can arise when a body gets overheated — from mild dehydration and heat rash to fainting, cramping, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Teach everyone to recognize the warning signs of serious heat problems. Heat exhaustion often presents with fatigue, disorientation, nausea, headache, rapid heart rate and moist, clammy skin. Heat stroke, which is even more dangerous, is typically accompanied by elevated body temperature, loss of consciousness, convulsions, vomiting and diarrhea.
Every team should have a heat safety leader, someone who’s accountable for executing a specific safety protocol in the event of an emergency. But every employee should also be taught how to respond if a co-worker exhibits the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke:
Help everyone understand the steps they can take to work safely in the heat:
Extreme heat and humidity can also take a toll on heavy equipment. As temperatures rise, your machines work harder than normal, stressing components and accelerating wear. Here are some ways to protect your fleet in hot weather.
Before you buy a machine that will be used in hot conditions, study the manufacturer's cooling packages carefully and choose the option that best matches your application.
Make sure operators are inspecting all the critical checkpoints: hydraulic fluid level, coolant level, radiator cap seal and pressure, engine oil level, hoses, air conditioning, tires and tire pressure.
Teach operators to clear debris from radiators, cooling systems and engine hood inlets and outlets every day.
Encourage smooth shifting, steady acceleration, gradual turns, controlled travel speed and no wheel spinning.
Use telematics data to monitor equipment status, predict potential problems, plan maintenance and repair before failure.
When machines are not in use, store them out of the sun in a dry, sheltered space.
Summer brings new challenges to the jobsite, but it can also be a time of great opportunity. With a well-trained team and a well-maintained fleet, you’ll be ready to succeed in any weather.