You’ve taken the prescribed steps by now to prepare your machinery and equipment for the work season ahead. Now let’s review how summer affects our health, safety, and environmental (HSE) planning as well.
Summer means increased exposure to UV rays, high temperatures, and disease-bearing insects. This year has introduced yet another concern: Covid-19. While Covid-19 creates a moving target, the rest of our summer HSE advice hasn’t changed. We offer these summer job site safety tips simply for your review.
Note that these tips are important for all of your employees, even while standing still in the hot summer sun. But physical exertion in bulky protective clothing/equipment can make the effect of extreme temperatures much worse.
Encourage your workers not only to follow these summer job site safety tips themselves but also to keep an eye on their coworkers, making sure they are taking the same precautions.
Stay current on what PPE and other safety measures are in place due to the coronavirus. They vary both by jurisdiction and with time, rapidly changing throughout the summer. The requirements where your job site is located may differ considerably from those where your company is headquartered, as well as site to site if you’re working multiple jobs simultaneously.
Compliance—In addition to your own safety protocols, follow the guidelines in place at your worksite’s location as closely as practicable. It’s foremost about ensuring your workers’ safety, but it will go a long way, too, toward easing the mind of your customer, passersby, and local residents.
Scout ahead for food/lodging/healthcare—Check out local accommodations and their requirements of patrons before you begin the job. Current restrictions where the job is located might affect how you and your crew access food and water, lodging, materials, tooling, and supplies, even medical care.
Hydration is key. The single most effective way to protect you and your crew from heat illness is to keep plenty of drinking water close by. Your primary canteen is your own body. Drink water in small amounts and frequently. Waiting until you’ve become thirsty is too late—by then you’re already dehydrated and trying to catch up.
Avoid caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. The body wastes precious water stores trying to process and eliminate them, frustrating your attempts to maintain adequate hydration.
Wear appropriate clothing—Short sleeves and/or shorts may be tempting, but protection from the sun’s UV rays is the wiser move. Choose loose-fitting, light-colored clothing made of “breathable” materials. Wide-brimmed hats help to protect not only your face but also your neck and ears.
Eye protection—Wear safety glasses or, if permitted, sunglasses rated for UV protection when possible.
Apply SPF 30 or higher sunscreen—Use as directed, reapplying at least as often as directions specify. Sunburn is painful for days. Skin cancer can be lethal.
Rest in shade—Take breaks frequently in any shade that you can find to help prevent your body from reaching temperatures so high it can’t cool itself down again.
Modify work schedules—If possible, avoid working in the hottest parts of the day and perhaps also use tactics such as split shifts and frequent employee rotation.
Know the signs of heat-related illnesses and how to react.
Heat exhaustion—Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, fainting, weakness, wet skin, irritability, confusion, thirst, nausea, or vomiting. Move to a shaded, cool area, and provide water. Remove any outer clothing/hat and continuously fan/mist face. Apply ice if available.
Heatstroke—This is more serious and may result in death. If any of the following signs are present dial 911 immediately: confusion, inability to think clearly, passing out, collapse, having seizures, or sweating has stopped.
Medication and heat—Read up on any heat-related restrictions for your prescription medicines.
Avoid high-fat and greasy food—This is especially true for hotter parts of the day. These can leave you feeling bloated and/or nauseous.
Choose lighter meals—Instead of hamburgers and fries, for instance, opt for a light sandwich with some fruit. Forego carbonated beverages.
Use insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when possible.
Read labels carefully—Some of the various oil, cream, and spray-on products might damage some materials. Look for alternative preparations safe for use with your tools, control panels, and windscreens.
Inspect yourself for ticks—Be on the lookout for ticks on your clothing and body during and after work. They can carry more than a dozen diseases, including Lyme disease. It’s difficult to find a reliable repellent.
Check where clothing blocked their progress and they dug in: waistline, cuffs, and collar; inside boots and socks; behind ears; the hair and crevices of your privates. They clamp down if disturbed, meaning you’ll probably have to pry them off. And if you find they’ve already buried their head into your skin, slowly, gently pull them out, trying not to break off their head.
Don’t attempt to “smother” them with petroleum jelly or lotion, or to “batch them out” with a match. It will likely cause them to disgorge their stomach contents with the potential for infection.
Use repellents for mosquitoes—Mosquitoes like the shade of brushy and wooded areas and are most active at dusk and dawn. Although adult mosquitoes feed on plant sap, the females can lay 10 times as many eggs if they can give her larvae blood. They can carry multiple diseases like malaria and West Nile in their gut, transferring it to a human during a bite.
Standing water—Remove sources of standing water from your worksite. They are mosquito breeding grounds.
Now that you know how to protect yourself and you’ve taken the necessary steps to protect your equipment, it might be helpful to review how to safely install rubber tracks in the event you need replacement tracks while on the job this summer.
After all, safety isn’t just about the people who get the job done, but equipment performance and reliability, too.How to Safely Install Rubber Tracks
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Dominion Rubber Tracks are available for all mini excavators, compact track loaders and tracked Carriers. Our replacement undercarriage parts include a fully stocked line of sprockets, rollers and idlers, manufactured to the highest quality control standards. Dominion Equipment Parts is also the exclusive OEM parts distributor for Morooka Rubber Track Carriers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America.