Summer brings about new concerns in the workplace because risks of seasonally-specific injuries are increased. Summer is a time when many industries tackled work and projects that are not typical. For instance, road crews traditionally working inside heavy equipment and vehicles are put out in the busy roadways with traffic dangers and equipment hazards. The summer season requires more safety diligence and protective measures to prevent injury to workers.
One of the biggest threats workers face in an outdoor environment comes from the heat and the sun. Manual laborers are often subjected to extreme temperatures they are not accustomed to and many fail to drink enough water to stay properly hydrated. Failure to drink enough fluids leads to complicated medical conditions that require immediate attention and can pose safety risks to co-workers on the project. Dehydration is preventable and employers should ensure staff has enough liquid and allows for enough breaks during the hottest days of summer, especially if personal protective equipment must be worn that prevents the body from cooling off properly.
The other danger posed by the sun is the effect it has on human skin. Workers often fail to wear proper protection from the sun. The dangerous effects of failure to protect skin can pop up immediately in the form of a sunburn or sun poisoning but many employees will fail to consider the long-term effects of working outdoors until they are later diagnosed with skin cancer.
Working outdoors during the sunny summer days requires preparation on behalf of the workers and the supervisory staff. Training should be provided that gives insight to the initial signs of heat-related conditions as well as how to help co-workers who fall ill from working in the sun. Summer safety programs that cover non-typical protocol are necessary for everyone’s safety. Proper signage and equipment need to be utilized correctly for summer work on the roads to protect the public as well as the workers.