Recently the sports world was rocked by the death of a young former football star who died from heatstroke. See the reports from the BBC and CBS news.World temperatures are rising and recently parts of Europe and the USA have experienced some of the hottest recorded temperatures. This last summer Australia also experienced record breaking temperatures.
Those in construction are at particular risk of suffering heat related illnesses since they are often expected to do hard physical tasks for long hours, often out in the open.
Dealing with hot weather on projects
It’s important that everyone on your construction project is aware of the risks that high temperatures pose. Everyone must be aware of the early symptoms of heat exhaustion so they can take quick corrective action before the situation deteriorates to full heatstroke. There should always be an adequate supply of cool fresh drinking water and workers must be encouraged to drink lots of water. Workers must be allowed to take frequent rest breaks in a cool environment. Where possible try and start work earlier when the day is still cool. Possibly schedule some tasks for the night – particularly pouring concrete. Rotate workers so that one worker isn’t working on a strenuous task all day.Be aware that people on medication, those taking drugs or consuming excess alcohol and caffeine may be more susceptible to suffering the ill effects of high temperature. Those use to working in more moderate and cooler climates are also not as use to working in hot conditions as others may be who have become acclimatised to these conditions, so it’s important to understand that people will be impacted differently by the heat.
High temperatures will impact productivity, but the construction schedule should not endanger people’s lives. Extreme temperatures above the norm may be reason to lodge a variation claim with the client.
Of course heat doesn’t also impact people’s lives it can impact concrete and other products. Concrete, mortar, adhesives and paints will all dry out rapidly, which could lead to problems with finishing the work as well as cracking and other problems.
Take adequate precautions to ensure that heat doesn’t endanger safety or impact quality on your construction project. Working in a cool office may insulate you from the severe heat while others on the project have to deal with the full impacts of the hot temperatures.
How will your project deal with the high temperatures?