Protection from the sun on a job site is crucial for the productivity of yourself and your employees, as well as the health of everybody on the job site both in the immediate and long term. Putting in the monetary investment into certain items that will protect you and the minimal time it takes each day to prepare to protect yourself for the day ahead is well worth the investment in the long run.
Not only is it important for you as an employer to know, but it is important for you to provide your employees with the tools and information to help them make their own decisions on sun protection. You never want to have a day when one of your employees suffers from heat stroke and makes a trip to the hospital or worse.
This is one of those cases where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but is often times overlooked besides tacking up a poster or having it available to your employees on site. For everyone involved, it would be best if these practices and tools were available to everyone on site. Showing your employees that you are willing to invest the time and money into their well-being can speak volumes to their willingness to work in the heat and dedication to you as an employer.
Working in the Sun
Working under the sun is no light matter. There are serious consequences of not preparing yourself for a day in the heat and sun. These consequences can be dire in the immediate and long term, both of which can be avoided if you put in certain safeguards in your business or on your job site.
It is important to discuss these with your employees and make sure that there is always a supervisor in charge of monitoring for signs of heat exhaustion. Providing health and safety information sessions and training can really help to create a culture that prioritizes everyone’s safety on a job site. On those hot and humid days, this training will be extremely important.
Let’s take a look at the negative effects that come from sun exposure including what it can cost you in your business and on the job site, as well as the health consequences that can come with not preparing yourself adequately for those hot days.
Lack of Productivity
As temperatures spike, productivity decreases. Especially in those climates that are not as used to it. Without proper preparation and the right protective equipment and supplies to help your employees, you will notice a significant drop in productivity which means you are making less money in the same amount of time. These days of heat tend to come in waves which will really cause you to fall behind on a certain project and could lead to a loss of confidence with a customer.
Sometimes investing a small amount of money upfront for the proper tools to protect your employees from the elements can make you more money in the long term. Taking a look at what we suggest you purchase and have available for your crews below can really pay off by keeping your employees safe, comfortable, and productive.
When your body’s heat and the environmental heat increases your core temperature and your body fails to regulate the increase in heat through sweating, you may be at risk of heat exhaustion, as well as several other consequences listed in this post. Beside hot temperatures, heat exhaustion can be caused by dehydration, alcohol use, or overdressing.
Symptoms of eat exhaustion can include:
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, pale, and clammy skin
- Fast, weak pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Tiredness or weakness
You should immediately move to a cool place, loosen your clothing, sip some water, and put some wet cool cloths on your body. You should be getting medical attention immediately if you are throwing up, your symptoms are worsening, or your symptoms last longer than one hour.
Everyone is at risk of heat exhaustion in certain circumstances, however those more at risk are young and old of age, those on certain medications, and those that are obese. If untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke which is extremely serious and could cause permanent damage.
If your core body temperature hits or exceeds 104 degrees Fahrenheit, you will need to seek immediate medical attention. Otherwise, permanent damage to your brain or other vital organs can occur which can also lead to death.
Signs of heat stroke can include:
- High body temperature (103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)
- Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
- Fast, strong pulse
- Losing consciousness
If you see someone suffering from these symptoms or you yourself think you may have heat stroke, you should call 911 immediately if it is an emergency, move to a cooler place, lower their temperature with cool cloths, but you should not give the person anything to drink.
Long exposure to high temperatures can lead to rashes forming in certain vulnerable areas on your body. These can become uncomfortable, especially as you work longer hours in the heat.
Symptoms of a heat rash include:
- Red clusters of small blisters that may be around the neck, chest, groin, or elbow creases
You should stay in a cool and dry place, keep the rash dry, and use powder to soothe the rash (baby powder would do).
Heat cramps are muscle spasms or pain with the addition of heavy sweating during intense exercise. You should stop physical activity if you experience this and move to a cool place. Drink water or a sports drink and wait for the cramps to go away before you continue any physical exertion. You should seek medical attention if cramps last longer than one hour, you are on a low-sodium diet, or you have heart problems.
Sunburns are painful, red, warm patches on the skin that can also include blisters. you should stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals or put cool cloths on sunburned areas. You can also use moisturizing lotion on sunburned areas, but you should not break the blisters.
Sunburn actually affects your body’s cooling ability which only makes the situation of working outdoors in the heat worse. Ensuring that you have the right sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, reapplying it every two hours or more often, and wearing a wide-brimmed hat with sunglasses are great ways you can protect yourself from sunburn.
This is a possible long-term consequences of sun exposure as it most often develops on areas of skin exposed to the sun. Avoiding exposure to ultraviolet radiation can help to reduce your risk of skin cancer.
Early detection of skin cancer provides the greatest chance to treat it successfully. Checking your skin for changes is the best way to detect an abnormality and seeking medical attention for these changes is the best way to detect it in its early stages.
If you want to learn more about skin cancer, visit the Mayo Clinic website to see more of the common types and what to look for.
Construction Sun Protection
With the proper preparation, you can take advantage of the work that can get done when the forecast is showing temperatures above a certain threshold. You can also supply your crews with proper protection to be able to keep them productive and as comfortable as possible while working in the heat. This also shows them that you care about their health and well-being while working on the job site.
- Days that have a forecast of temperatures above a certain threshold should be marked and communicated to your crews and employees. On those days, employees should prepare themselves for the heat by dressing appropriately and bringing the necessary supplies to protect themselves against the sun.
As a business owner, you can also schedule earlier days that end before the heat raises too high. Getting as long of a day in as possible before temperatures spike can be crucial in staying productive on a job site. If this is not possible, days that are hotter than normal should be taken easy with frequent breaks in a cool spot.
- Wear loose fit and lightweight clothing that allows your body to regulate its body temperature. Wearing excessive layers or clothing can lead to your body overheating faster.
- Drink lots of fluids and drink before you get thirsty. This will help your body sweat which will in turn help to regulate your body heat. Making sure that you have a cooler of fluids for your crews can really help improve moral of your crew and ensure their safety in the heat.
- Anybody with certain medical conditions or taking certain medications should take more precautions when working in the heat. Perhaps the supervisor should be aware of these or ask employees if there is anything they should know about their medical conditions during hot days.
- Systems should be put in place to check for symptoms of heat exhaustion and other problems that may arise from working in the heat. Posters should be available and a list of what should happen if somebody is suspected to need medical attention should be clearly displayed and communicated to everyone on the job site.
- Invest in the proper tools for your crews to take advantage of those hot days. There are a lot of supplies and equipment that you can purchase for each of your crews to make sure that they are safe day in and day out when working in the heat regularly. These can really help your productivity and make you more money than they cost you in the long-term. They also help to show that you care about the health and safety of your crew members.
Sun Protection for Construction and Other Outdoor Workers
Invest in these items listed below. They are relatively items that will protect yourself or your crew on those hot, sunny days. In the long term you will not regret it. In the short term you will enjoy the protection they provide in the sweltering heat of summer wherever you are.
Best Sunscreen for Construction Workers
Best Sunglasses for Construction Workers
Job Site Tents / Temporary Construction Tents
Full Brim Hard Hat Accessories
Best Gardening Hat
Cooling Gear for Construction Workers
Best Work Shirts for Hot Weather
Finding the best sunblock for construction workers that are exposed to the sun all day is not the most difficult thing. There are many different products on the market and really it comes down to the product that feels the best on your skin while you work. There are many products that are thick and do not rub in too well or just do not feel good when you apply it. Then there are products that just seem to apply smoothly and make it easy to use day in and day out.
That is the difficult thing as workers. You can get so caught up in your day’s objective that you forget to apply it or you think about it but it is all the way across the job site in the truck and you do not want to go get it. We have all been there, but at least if you can find the right product it will make applying it and wearing it day in and day out a little more easy. That way you will at least not have a problem with using it.
This may come down to trying a few different products on the market. Ergodyne, a company that specializes in safety for construction workers, has a good starting product on the market that is not overly expensive and is of good quality. The best part is that it is water and sweat resistant for 80 minutes which means you can make the most of the time between applications on those extremely hot days. It is hypo-allergenic, fragrance free, and wont run into your eyes. You wont get that greasy feeling with this lightweight sunscreen.
Finding the right sunglasses for working outside depends a lot on what you need them for besides working and when else you would use them. The most beneficial pair of sunglasses would be those that protect you from the harmful UV rays as well as from flying objects. In that case, you need a pair of polarized safety glasses.
For fit, protection, and style you cannot go wrong with these pair of ToolFreak glasses. The polycarbonate build protects you against any high impact with an ANSI Z87+ rating and a wraparound design that keeps them attached to your head. They also provide lateral protection without obstructing your peripherals.
Shade is so crucial on any job site on those hot days. However, it can be a real pain to find at times. That is why you should always have a job site tent or a temporary construction tent in your trailer at all times. This will save your crew’s productivity on those extremely hot days. Humidity will always be a factor, but on those days where you are in one place for an extended period of time having a tent that can be adjusted every once in a while to keep the sun off of you can be so crucial in ensuring that you are getting the most productivity.
They only require three steps to set up and they fold up small so that they can be stored easily. It is adjusted to three different heights and provides 10 feet by 10 feet shade. The material is heavy duty polyester fabric with PU lining and is 100% waterproof so it can be used on those rain days as well!
Looking for something a little bit more portable than a canopy tent? Then you should no doubt be considering one of these umbrella stands for your job site. They are the perfect solution for that one worker that is at the cutting table all day or working in one spot for an extended period of time. The polyester umbrella blocks out 98% of harmful UV rays. It is built sturdy with a diameter of 7.5 feet and folds up to conveniently carry it around in your truck. This is one that is an absolute must to have on every outdoor job site if you have one person that is working in a single spot for an extended period of time.
For those of you needing construction helmet sun protection, here is an accessory that you can attach to your hard hat to provide you with a full brim and protection from the sun against the back of your neck which is an extremely vulnerable part of your body in the heat. It is breathable and high visibility.
It never hurts to have a hat with you that has a full brim and neck protection on those sites that you may not be needing to wear your hard hat all of the time. These hats will provide the best protection for you from the UV rays both on the back of your neck and for your face as well.
Ergodyne makes an interesting cooling vest for construction workers. Simply fill it with water and it will cool you while you wear it. They also make a line that include water packs that are frozen and inputted into the vest itself. This seems like a good thing to have on those extremely hot days, especially if someone seems like they may be suffering from heat exhaustion.
It takes about a small water bottle to fill and can cool for up to three days unless it is extremely hot or humid. The material can be machine washed and is anti-microbial to inhibit mold. If you require instant cooling relief, you can take a look at these lightweight vests or their lineup of vests that include water packs that are frozen before inserted into the vest.
Having dri fit shirts that protect you from the sun’s UV rays while also keeping you cool and comfortable are an absolute must while you are working. You need to have these shirts on in the heat. Not only are they 50+ UPF rated which will protect you from UV rays, but they are also made with moisture wicking and rapid dry fabric to keep you comfortable. There is no doubt that these should be the company shirts of choice!
If you already have business work t-shirts and want to consider some sleeves that you can wear during the day to protect your skin, Ergodyne makes cooling arm sleeves that provide UV ray protection. They are made of performance knit fabric that is soft and stretchable while remaining durable. Simply wet them and they will keep you cool for hours.
Working Outside in the Sun
Working in the sun should not be taken lightly. There should be safety measures in your workplace and those should be communicated regularly to your workers and crew members. There should be systems in place to protect yourself and others around you. You should understand the signs of heat exhaustion and what to do if you suspect somebody is suffering from it. There can be severe consequences.
Spend the money and protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. You will be thankful that you did day in and day out on the job site and you will not regret it in the future when you do not have to suffer through the long term effects of working in the sun. Take care of yourself. Your health is the number one priority.