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Leading Crews through the Summer Sun: 6 Tips to Prevent Heat-Related Illness

As a leader, it’s important to pay close attention to the wellbeing of your team and coach your coworkers to do so as well. Being aware of common signs and symptoms of fatigue, heat stress and heat-related illness is critical in preventing jobsite incidents. As we progress further into the summer and temperatures rise, so too do heat-related illnesses.

Safety teams nationwide should be implementing employee training and toolbox talks, such as this one, to remain mindful of heat-related illness during the summer months.

Here are a few preventative tips:

  1. Start the day with water and/or a sports drink. Avoid energy drinks as they are high in sugar and caffeine.
  2. Frequent, short breaks in shaded areas are a good way to get out of the sun and replenish your hydration.
  3. Hydration during the day keeps you going until end of shift, but hydrating at night prepares you for tomorrow.
  4. Implement a buddy system to monitor each other for signs of heat stress. Team accountability increases safety for everyone, even seasoned field leaders.  
  5. New employees may need more breaks – it takes time to build up tolerance to the heat and the work activity. This is known as acclimation.
  6. Wear light, loose-fitting, breathable clothing.

Awareness and preparation are critical when working in extreme temperatures. Rehydration should also be done after the workday has been completed. It prepares everyone for the next day’s activities.

Our safety program is based on personal accountability and continuous improvement. We hold ourselves accountable for our team members, and we want to share best practices in safety with our customers and all trades working on our job sites.

As you coach your teams and plan for safety on the jobsite, the Kent Companies safety team is a go-to resource nationwide.