5 Jul 16
Three Ways Safety Managers Can Help Their Crews When the Heat is On
To all the foremen, pack leaders, and decision-makers out there: if you work in an area subject to the whims of the changing seasons, spring and summer are undoubtedly your busiest seasons. Contractors roll in to the jobsite while trucks roll out. It’s a beautiful thing.
To capitalize on this influx of work, your crew must be able to stay comfortable in order to be productive during the hottest days of the year. As a supervisor, it’s on you to make sure your workers have the knowledge and tools they need to prevent heat illness and be productive during hot weather.
Drop Some Knowledge
It is imperative that all workers receive annual weather-related training, as well as refresher courses throughout the warm weather season.
Training should include:
- How to recognize and prevent heat-related illness
- Understanding actions to take when heat illness symptoms arise
- Properly reporting heat emergencies
- Locating first-aid equipment
If school was never really your thing, don’t worry. You can meet required training standards by providing heat illness prevention information at each tailgate meeting or other regularly-scheduled gathering. When onboarding new workers, include heat illness information in their orientation.
Get Crafty With Your Schedule
Many tasks on the jobsite must be coordinated, calculated, and rigidly-controlled. But, if it’s done with foresight and planning, scheduling flexibility will go a long way toward increasing productivity. For instance, consider starting the work day earlier or moving intense physical labor away from the hottest part of the day. After all, cool, rested workers are more productive workers.
If your work relies on vendors, you may also find that service is better during these off-peak hours (possible, but not guaranteed). Take advantage if operations are suitable for night work. And when hiring new employees, provide an acclimatization period if they are unaccustomed to working in hot conditions.
Hook Your Workers Up
Purchase heat stress products for your crew that use shade, hydration, and cooling to maintain a worker’s personal body temperature and provide a respite from the heat. When a job needs doing, these items can help make an otherwise miserable situation a bit more tolerable.
Whether you find yourself mining copper in the Kalahari or manning the first mission to Mercury, you and your crew need to be educated and outfitted to not only beat the heat, but destroy it so badly that it crosses the street when it sees you coming.