Things are heating up, and for roofers that means staying vigilant about keeping your cool. High temps and high humidity are some major causes of fatalities, illness and accidents during the hot summer months for workers. Here’s what you can do to remain safe during hot working conditions.
The first thing you need to watch for in hot weather is heat exhaustion, this is the body’s way of telling you something is not right. Heat exhaustion can usually be treated quickly and is reversible.
Heat exhaustion is the most common heat-related illness. Signs of heat exhaustion include:
- Excessive sweating
- Cool, clammy and pale or gray skin
- Normal or slightly elevated temperature
- A weak and rapid pulse
- Weakness and fatigue
- Lack of coordination
- Nausea and headache
Heat stroke on the other hand is a dire medical condition that can lead to death. If you notice a coworker experiencing signs of heat stroke, remove them from the hot environment immediately and seek medical attention. Signs of heat stroke include:
- Elevated body temperature of 105+
- Hot, dry, flushed and red skin
- Lack of sweating
- Loss of consciousness
Good practices for roofers in hot weather:
- Never be on a roof top alone. Heat exhaustion and Heat stroke can come on rapidly aided by physical activity.
- Always have plenty of water and a few sports drinks available. Drink fluids and take breaks in the shade on a regular schedule or whenever you feel you are getting over heated.
- The whole crew should be trained to look for the signs and symptoms above and have an action plan in the event someone is having a heat emergency.
- People in a heat emergency can feel weak and faint. Take extra precautions when going up and down ladders. If your co-worker is feeling weak or faint do not let them use the ladder. Quickly try and cool them off, have them drink cool water and wet their head. If symptoms subside only then should they use the ladder to exit the roof top. If they don’t subside contact 911 immediately.
- Wear clothing that is breathable and will wick water away . This will aid the evaporation process and help cool your body.
Stay safe out there.