Summer presents unique challenges for electricians. Sunny days and hot temperatures bring discomfort on the job and more seriously, risks of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. It is important for the Prime team, as well as all electricians, to stay safe and comfortable while working. Be sure to read below for tips to beat the heat and stay cool on the job site on hot summer days!
WHAT TO DRINK AND WHEN
Staying hydrated is the first step to staying safe and cool during hot temperatures. Be sure to have ample access to water on the job site with a portable cooler or water bottle. Semi-cool or room temperature water is best! Make sure to drink some water every 15-20 minutes to stay hydrated as your body sweats out electrolytes and liquids. It is important to stay hydrated before and after work as well. Starting the day dehydrated drastically increases body fatigue and raises the risk of heat illness, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.
For the same reason, it is suggested to avoid consuming moderate to high amounts of alcohol. Don’t get us wrong - we’re all for relaxing after a hard day! However, it important to recognize that alcohol intake contributes to dehydration and must be moderated to ensure that you stay healthy. Along the same lines, it is advisable to avoid caffeine. That morning cup of coffee can dehydrate you and make you prone to overheating. In addition to drinking enough water, be sure to replenish your electrolytes! Restock on your minerals and electrolytes by eating fruits and leafy greens or pick up a coconut water!
WHAT TO WEAR
Science suggests that wearing thin, loose, and light-colored clothes are the best options for working in the heat. Your body needs to have unrestricted circulation, room to disperse heat, and space to expel sweat. Long sleeves are best because they protect your skin from sun damage and stay cool as the fabric keeps your sweat, your body’s natural cooling method, close to you and keeps you damp and cool. Light colors should be worn as dark colors have been proven to attract heat. In short, wear your Prime issued long sleeve shirt in white, heather gray, or orange to stay safe and cool!
You also have the option to add additional cooling clothing to your daily wear. Hat brims or flaps around your hardhat can keep the sun off you and give you some shade. Some electricians invest in cooling vests to help them reduce their body temperatures, a great option that can be pricy. If you’re looking for a more affordable method, take your Prime issued cooling towel (or another one if it’s in the wash) get it wet and stick it in the freezer overnight. Keep it around your neck, on wrists, or under your hardhat for a cool, breezy feeling. You can also place it in the backside of your facemask - just be sure not to get the wet moisture near your mouth, as it could make it more difficult to take deep breathes. Additionally, you always wet your normal clothes if you’re feeling hot to simulate the same benefits that come from sweating.
Be sure to apply an appropriate amount of a minimum of SPF 30 sunscreen several times throughout the day to help prevent skin damage. Re-apply sunscreen every two hours while you are exposed to the sun and choose a brand that mentions 'broad-spectrum' on the label to protect your skin both UVA and UVB rays. If you have sensitive skin, use a physical sunscreen that contains ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
EAT LIGHT MEALS
Eating light meals can help you feel less sluggish and work to help keep you cool. Instead of eating large meals, frequently eat smaller snacks to spend less energy digesting. Fruits, nuts, and leafy greens instead of meat can be a good option. On the other hand, some electricians and construction professionals swear by eating spicy food, as it helps them sweat - so cake on the Tapatio or Sriracha!
After a day on the job, you have lost a significant amount of electrolytes to sweating and respiration. Be sure to replenish your sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, and magnesium to stay healthy and be ready for tomorrow. Sodium and magnesium can be replenished by eating salted nuts. Eat oranges to fulfill your potassium needs. Tomatoes, lettuce, and celery are all great options for chloride. Lastly, finish it off with a glass of milk to meet your calcium intake.
TURN ON A FAN
If you are working indoors, turn on a fan and open doors and windows to increase ventilation. Be sure that you are social distancing and don’t blow air from one employee to another. The breeze will help keep you cool and reduce threats of heat illness.
SEEK THE SHADE
Seek the shade during your break or position easy-ups over you when you are working so that you are able to work out of the direct sun when possible. Wearing a hardhat sunshield can help keep you cool and protect your skin when shade is hard to come by.
Sometimes the warning signs of heat exhaustion, heatstroke, or heat illness can be difficult to spot. Don’t work in the heat alone! Partner up with another team member to watch for the early signs of heat illness to keep both of you safe on the job. Your foreman and designated competent persons on the job will be watching you as well, but it is always a good idea to have an extra pair of eyes!
FOLLOW THE HEAT ILLNESS PREVENTION PLAN
A heat illness prevention plan is found at every Prime job site, as well as on the website on the Employee LOGIN page. Your foreman is trained on the policies and will help you stay safe through training and weekly safety meetings. Still, be sure to familiarize yourself with the Heat Illness Prevention policy and follow it to stay cool, prevent heat illness, and stay healthy!
In conclusion, we hope that you enjoyed our tips to beat the heat and stay cool on the job site. If you have any secrets on how you stay cool and safe when working on hot days, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always looking for ways to improve the workdays and make our electrician's lives a little bit better.
Don't have a long sleeve Prime Shirt?
Don't have a light-colored, properly-fitted, long sleeve Prime shirt? Don't worry! Email Alexis with HR at email@example.com to ask for a new one. The heather gray, white, and orange options are the best for helping you keep cool and visible on the job. If you are in-between sizes, we recommend that you size up to give your body more room to breathe and circulate. After all, it is safety first!
Gear to invest in to help you stay cool
There is an array of options when it comes to additional gear that can help you stay cool and safe on the job site. The most obvious option is a cooling vest. There are a large number of options for cooling vests out there, but they can be pricy. Instead, we recommend starting small and more affordable. Protect yourself from the heat of direct sunlight and skin damage with a hardhat sunshield, complete with a brim and neck shield. They are available on Amazon Prime for just $10.99 by following this link. Also, don't forget to grab your tinted outdoor safety glasses from the office!
Heat and COVID-19
With COVID-19 preventions, the heat can seem like even more of a nuisance. Remember to social distance on your breaks and wear your masks when you are around other people. Additional shade will be provided and breaks will be staggered to help ensure that team members are able to easily social distance in the shade. If you are ever feeling extra hot or faint, please your foreman know and move to the shade. Safety first! Additionally, be sure to get your temperature taken earlier in the day and out of direct sunlight to avoid a false reading!
It may seem inconvenient waking up early to get to the job site, but during hot summer months it can make working during the day much cooler and more tolerable. Your foremen and superintendents try to schedule shifts for the safest, most convenient times for everyone.
Heat Illness Prevention Policy
The Prime Heat Illness Prevention Policy is located at your job site and on the Employee Login page for easy access. The Policy works to prevent any form of heat illness and keep the Prime team safe at all times. It covers water provision, access to shade, monitoring the weather, procedures for handling a heat wave, high heat procedures, acclimatization, emergency response, procedures for handling a heat sick employee, employee and supervisory training, and the buddy system.
Have an issue or trend you want addressed?
Is there a particular topic or issue that you would like addressed or is acting as a drag on your work-life? Reach out to Carissa at firstname.lastname@example.org for support. First and foremost, we can work together to find a solution or to address the new trend and integrate it. We want everyone's day to be as easy as possible and if there is something that we can help with we would like to know. Prime prides itself on supporting its team members, solving problems, and growing with new tech and trends.