As summer weather starts to set in, employers may need to step up their attention to jobsite safety for workers who spend time outdoors. Skin care company Deb Group recently conducted a survey of adults who spend at least half of their work time outside, and found that only 18% of them always wear sunscreen. Additionally, 50% of the workers say they always or sometimes see a need for sunscreen at work, but 71% claim their employers do not provide sunscreen.
The potential for sunburn and skin cancer aren't the only concerns for workers on outdoor jobsites. Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, can be dangerous results from over-exertion in the heat, especially for inexperienced workers. "If someone has not worked in hot weather for at least a week, their body needs time to adjust," says Mandy Edens, director of OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management. "Closely supervise new employees for the first 14 days or until they're fully acclimatized. Most heat-related worker deaths occur in the first three days on the job, and more than third occur on the very first day. New and temporary workers are disproportionately affected."
OSHA recommends that workers drink 1 cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes when working in the heat, and says crew members should keep an eye on each other and know what heat stress symptoms look like. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, headaches, cramps, and nausea. Heat stroke is further signified by hot and red skin, fainting, and confusion. Have crew members use a buddy system to check in with one another to call 911 in an emergency.
To prevent these scary symptoms and their dangerous results, set up your jobsites with plenty of shade, available water, and sunscreen, and consider cooling worker gear accessories for the summertime. Here are eight products and tools to keep crews cool as the mercury rises.
Keep larger spaces cool with equipment even the largest sports leagues trust. Big Fogg Misting Fans, used by the NFL, NCAA, PGA, and more, has introduced a new 30-inch Air-Fogging Commercial Misting Fan designed for everyday use. The fan creates an air-fog that cools up to 30 degrees F with no wetness, making it ideal for jobsites where materials are better kept dry. The mist is also adjustable from completely dry to more damp, depending on needs and preferences. Other features include telescopic height adjustment and an on-board 8-gallon reservoir. With a 1/4-horsepower motor and three fan speeds, the unit uses less than 1 gallon of water per hour, so it's sure to last all day. Requires a 110 outlet to operate. bigfogg.com
Condor Safety Products want crew members to keep a cool head on hot summer days with help from a variety of hard hat cooling products. The pads incorporate water-absorbing beads for cooling relief from the heat. Simply soak the pad in water for a few minutes to activate the beads, then attach to the hardhat with the product's webbing and hook-and-loop fastening tape. The product line includes round and ring-shaped pads that fit inside the hardhat, and a larger version that adds a neck shade (shown) for cooling relief and sun protection for the wearer. Products are priced under $10 each from Grainger. grainger.com
Make access to sunscreen easy for your employees with SunX 30+ broad-spectrum 30 SPF sunscreen in multipurpose-foil packets. Each two-part packet contains a sunscreen pouch and a dry applicator towelette. The sunscreen formula protects against UVA and UVB rays, and is rated water resistant for 80 minutes by the FDA. It also contains aloe vera and vitamin E, and is PABA- and oil-free. Choose from a variety of packaging options from 25 to 300 per pack. coretexproducts.com
Deb Group's Stokoderm Sun Protect 30 sunscreen is suitable for all skin types to protect against UVA and UVB rays with 30 SPF. The white, perfume-free cream is available in 100-ml (3.4 ounce) tubes that users can easily carry with them, or mount one of the maker's Stoko Sun 1000 dispensers with a 1-liter cartridge in communal areas on the jobsite for easy access. debgroup.com
Set up a sun-protected area on the jobsite with the Flagger Joe Umbrella Stand. The 68-inch square canopy is 100% waterproof and offers UV sun protection. The construction-orange color is repeated in the kit's two 18-inch warning flags, easily mounted in the double flag finial. The umbrella-only kit features a carry/storage bag with a zipper pouch and strap for easy portability. A larger kit with an umbrella base and 40-pound sandbag is also available. "Stop" and "slow" signs for jobsites that call for traffic management are sold separately. flaggerjoe.com
Keep plenty of cold water on hand with Igloo's newest hard-sided product line, Quantum. Available in three sizes - 12-, 28-, or 52-quart - the wheeled coolers feature Ultratherm insulation in the body, which helps keep ice frozen for up to five days. Molded-in side handles, durable wheels, and a telescoping/locking handle make it easy to load, unload, and move the cooler around the jobsite. Integrated tie-down loops let users attach extra gear to the top of the cooler. The 28-quart size can hold dozens of water bottles, plus snacks and lunches for break time. Many of Igloo's products, including personal and jobsite water jugs up to 10 gallons, can be customized with company logos and graphics for a special touch. igloocoolers.com
Safety comes first on jobsites, and special considerations should be made in the heat. To help offer safe working guidelines, OSHA offers its Heat Safety Tool app for both iOS and Android, keeping vital safety information right on your smartphone. The app lets workers and supervisors calculate heat index for their jobsite and display a risk level to outdoor workers. A simple click provides reminders about protective measures workers should take at that risk level. A Spanish-language version is also available when the user's phone is set to Spanish before downloading. osha.gov
Adding a layer of clothing may seem counter-intuitive in the heat, but TechNiche International's HyperKewl cooling fabric will make you a believer. The maker offers vests (shown), hats, neck bands, and more made from the specialized fabric that stays about 15 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature. Lightweight and easy to activate, the vest (shown) has a waterproof interior layer to keep clothing dry while the wearer stays cool for 5 to 10 hours. Adult sizes up to 3XL are available, and in multiple colors. techniche-intl.com
Lauren Hunter is chief editor of products for Hanley Wood. You can find her on Twitter at @ProductsHunter