It is, however, entirely preventable with a little bit of Ultraviolet (UV) knowledge.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) measures sunscreen protection from UVB rays − the rays that cause sunburn and contributes to skin cancer. Typically, you can multiply the SPF number by ten to know how many minutes you can stay in the sun without burning. It’s important for Chandos employees to be aware of the dangers that come with working in the sun and the personal safety precautions they can employ themselves.
Sunlight doesn’t only do direct damage; light reflected off of bodies of water and, related to our construction sites, concrete can also cause UV exposure.
Weather reports include a UV index, which can provide you with some clues on how to prepare for your work day:
- When the index is high (7 or higher), you can get sunburned in only 15 to 20 minutes.
- The highest exposure of the day is from noon to 2 pm.
To limit the damaging effects of the sun on site:
- Wear a shirt and long pants to cover most of your skin.
- Protect the rest of your skin with sunscreen (the more you sweat, the more often you need to reapply sunscreen).
- Protect your eyes. Wear safety sunglasses if the tint doesn’t interfere with your vision (most safety glasses—clear or tinted—decrease your UV exposure).
- Wear a lip chap with SPF to prevent the sensitive skin on your lips from burning.
- Reapply sunscreen if you start to feel yourself burning.
30℃ is the optimal temperature for a shady summer picnic, but for those of us with jobs, it’s the temperature we begin to implement safety precautions and heighten awareness about heat stress.
When the body enters heat stress, it is trying to regulate its internal temperature. In extreme cases, an individual can become dehydrated and develop incredibly serious symptoms.
When working outside during the summer, our Chandos teams keep each other safe by monitoring and treating the following symptoms of heat stress:
- Heat rash
Appears as red, sensitive spots on skin
Treatment: Enter a cool environment, wash skin with clean, cool water
- Heat cramps
Soreness and siezing of muscles, due to loss of salt and water through sweat
Treatment: Drink commercially available electrolyte replacing beverages and massage sore muscles.
- Heat exhaustion
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body can no longer push blood to vital organs. The symptoms include weakness, headache, nausea and vomiting, and feeling faint
Treatment: heat exhaustion casualties respond quickly to prompt first aid. If not treated promptly, however, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.
If heat stroke occurs, call 911, notify your Superintendent and help the victim cool down:
- Move victim to cool place
- Remove unnecessary clothing
- Provide cold drinking water
- Sponge or shower victim with cold water
To help prevent these symptoms from occurring, you can:
- Wear light clothing that allows for the evaporation of sweat.
- Drink water on a schedule (do not wait until you become thirsty).
- Avoid hot, heavy meals while working.
- Take microbreaks to allow the body to rest and cool down.
Know what weather conditions you will be working in.
Well, water helps, so I’m going to start with that, but I promise by the end of this, you will start to see things differently.
Did you know that the average adult should consume roughly one litre of water per hour during periods of active work or exercise? This will vary, depending on the size and health of the individual (and a whole host of other things), but this serves as a safe baseline while on an active construction site It becomes increasingly important, during these hot and beautiful summer days, for everyone on Chandos (Shan-Doss) sites to stay hydrated. I’ll give you a second to grab a crisp, cold glass of water before I continue, because this is about to get real.
Let’s paint the picture of dehydration:
- You’re thirsty
- You’re dizzy
- Your muscles are cramping
- You’re fatigued
You are in no position to be working. You become a danger to not only your own, but everyone else’s safety. Have you ever fainted with a nail gun in your hand? Cool. Don’t.
That’s what we are trying to avoid.
Here’s how you do it:
- Keep fluids with you — water is an obvious favourite today, but liquids with electrolytes (sports drinks and coconut water) also work well.
- Be prepared. Check local weather conditions and prepare for what lies ahead.
- Avoid carbonated and caffeinated beverages like soda and coffee, they only dehydrate you further.
- Wear light-coloured and breathable fabric, if possible, to help keep cool.
I promised you would see things differently by the end of this blog, so here we go. It’s pee. Pee is what you will see differently. You’re welcome.
It turns out that urine is a fairly accurate predictor of hydration and can give you a good indication of when you need to hydrate. A guide from the Cleveland Clinic has recieved a lot of attention and can help provide you with guidance: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/10/what-the-color-of-your-urine-says-about-you-infographic/
Be prepared for working conditions and listen to your body to help keep you, and everyone else, on site safe.