Managing the effects of heat stress for a roofing workforce is vital to the safety and well-being of the crews. Heat is an inherent hazard when working outdoors, especially working on building roofs. On average, the temperature on the roof is typically 30 degrees higher than ground temperature. Every organization should have a proper Heat Program in place.
Training, proper equipment and planning are key elements to a successful Heat Program. Training associates about the causes, symptoms and ways to react to heat stress will give them the knowledge necessary to work with the hazard. With heat stress, using that training along with communication of symptoms and observations, allows associates to react before a more serious heat stress incident occurs.
Having the proper equipment, such as a source of hydration, shade tents and cooling stations, gives an organization an advantage. The more tools you have available to combat the heat, the better chance you have of avoiding heat related incidents. And don’t forget the sunscreen, sun glasses, hats and proper clothing with wicking fabrics.
Heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include: cool, moist skin with goosebumps when in the heat; heavy sweating; faintness; dizziness; fatigue; weak and rapid pulse; low blood pressure upon standing; and, muscle cramps.
Planning for the heat is very important. If an organization doesn’t plan for the hazard, they cannot react to it. Planning needs to start before the job begins. When working in hot environments, a proper diet, hydration, training and equipment preparation are necessary. With those preparations in place prior to the start of a job, it will be a major indicator of whether a workforce will work through heat hazards without incident.
About National Safety Stand Down 2019
The National Safety Stand Down is organized by the Department of Labor to prevent falls in construction and accidents. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 366 of the 971 construction fatalities recorded in 2017 (BLS data). Those deaths were preventable. The National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries.
Blog contributed by Michael Litzenburger, CentiMark Corporate Safety Manager, Canonsburg, PA, May 2019