A record heat wave is causing the mercury to hit triple digits on many jobsites across the country. Ensuring employees and contractors are regularly hydrated and protected from the sun during hot months is essential to the health and safety of workers.
NAHB’s Heat Stress Safety Toolkit can help members be prepared to take precautions to protect against possible heat related illnesses and/or injuries. The toolkit provides key insights on preventing and identifying heat stress, and includes downloadable resources and videos available in English and Spanish.
Heat stress can be particularly dangerous because most residential construction professionals are used to working in the heat of summer. But acclimatization within a season is crucial to staying safe. If the normal high temperatures in your area are in the high 80s and a heat wave suddenly brings readings in the high 90s, the first few days are going to be the most dangerous because of lack of acclimatization.
Employers and workers should be sure to have plans in place to provide access to plenty of water and take adequate breaks when needed, as well as access to shade or cool-down areas. Employers and workers should also consider shifting work schedules to times of day when temperatures are lower, such as early morning to mid-day.
This summer, the Las Cruces Home Builders Association (LCHBA) helped its local community stay cool. The HBA delivered popsicles, cold water and sunglasses to residential construction workers on jobsites. The drop-ins were an opportunity to help workers cool down, but also show appreciation for their hard work, said Nicole Perez, executive officer, LCHBA.